The event is over, so now you can rest, right? Not so fast.
For our youth ministry team, part of the cleanup involves an After-Event Evaluation. (Someday we’ll come up with a catchier name for this process!) We want to know how the event went and if it’s worth doing again. Criticizing broken programs and events is easy; instead, we also want to critically and constructively evaluate what’s going well. If we don’t know why our programming is running smoothly, we’ll have a tough time fixing it when it breaks. Evaluation is key to future success.
Around our church, four key steps pop up from time to time. I don’t know who deserves credit, but this process sure comes in handy. We don’t use a fancy form—just four simple words written in a notebook: Good, Bad, Missing, and Confusing. After anything we do (event, retreat, mission trip, Sunday school, leader meeting, etc.), an individual or group gathers to discuss “What was…
- Good: What went well? What were the “wins”? What made this a success? Who did great? What did we do this time that made things better? Were there any helpful tweaks or inventions from necessity?
- Bad: What went wrong? What didn’t work? Did we try something that failed? Who didn’t do well?
- Missing: Did we forget anything? In what ways or areas could we have done more?
- Confusing: What was our goal or purpose for doing this, and did we accomplish it? Were we clear? Did everyone get the point? Did people have a good time?
We create one streamlined set of notes from the input that’s shared and file it away. Then, if we repeat that activity, we have access to valuable insight about what’s needed to make it better than before.
PRO TIP: Who’s in the room? Evaluators can include staff, volunteers, student leaders—essentially anyone you want in the room, or anyone who needs to be there. It doesn’t have be the same people every time; in fact, different voices will prove more valuable for different events.
PRO TIP #2: Keep a notebook handy for staff to share their ideas (i.e., complaints). You don’t have time to listen to everyone share “what’s wrong” while an event is happening. And chances are you won’t invite all staff members to each evaluation. An idea notebook lets people jot down things they see that are Good, Bad, Missing, or Confusing as they occur. You can read through those comments before an event evaluation.