My friend Andrew is right on!
How do you measure your success?
I don’t. Seriously. Or, I try not to. The reality is that no matter how hard you try there WILL ALWAYS be people in your church who need NUMBERS. Oh, how I hate numbers. If you refer to my PH of YM (philosophy of youth ministry) and the statement "It is not about numbers. We will affirm this by asking about growth and quality rather than quantity."
I am more concerned with what God is doing or going to be doing in a student’s life. When you have an outlook on ministry that is not focused on numbers, then you begin to gain clarity on how to affirm what God is already doing in a student’s life and sometimes clarity on what God will eventually do. But you must be willing to know and say that this is God’s job, NOT MINE.
It is far more healthy for me, to just desire to minister to the students who are THERE. Instead of saying the statement "where is everyone" when 3 students show up, I use language that shows that I am WHOLLY grateful for the opportunity to spend time with those 3 students. Sometimes we are blessed with more, sometimes we are blessed with less, but the bottom line is, that ministry is about presence, not about seeking out more when there are already some present.
Presence. Presence. Presence. What I remember most about my youth leaders as a kid…weren’t their cool talks, their expertise on leading a special event or camp, a mission trip, or even how they led me to the Lord…what I remember most was that they were present…and thus why I do what I do in the midst of the joys and struggles in youth ministry…I practice the art of being present, I show up ready, willing, and waiting to see and to watch the Spirit of God at work…may not see it now…may never see it…I only hope my presence will make a difference…and knowing that it’s Christ’s love and compassion I hope will be caught through myself just being present…