Editor’s Note: This is the final part of a three-part series on a new project initiated by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Student Ministry offices, called Excellence in Youth Ministry (EiYM). This project is designed to encourage and unite youth pastors around a set of shared Biblical values and the pursuit of personal and ministerial excellence.

The Excellence in Youth Ministry (EiYM) project is designed to unite youth pastors around a set of shared values and to help these youth pastors lead their church’s youth ministry with excellence. There are three components to the project:

Statement of Values

This is a list of personal and ministerial values developed around Jesus’ commandment to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mark 12:30). Youth pastors will commit to participate in EiYM by visiting www.skopos.org/EiYM, reading and agreeing to the list of values, and completing the online commitment form.

Sign up for EiYM is set to launch in late March. Our desire is that every youth pastor in Oklahoma will commit to participate in EiYM. The site will populate a list of youth pastors/leaders that will be available for all to see. As the list of youth pastors grows, hopefully others will be encouraged to join in as well.

Personal Evaluation

EiYM includes an evaluation tool to be used by a participating youth pastor to annually assess his or her areas of excellence and of needed growth. It is critical, once committing to a plan of action, to evaluate one’s progress in that commitment. The EiYM Personal Evaluation is a series of questions related to the 19 value statements that comprise EiYM. The evaluation form will be sent to participants in printed form after committing to participate in EiYM. It also will be accessible online for personal evaluation or as a part of the Staff Investment Plan.

Staff Investment Plan

Each participant in EiYM will be given the option online to also participate in the Staff Investment Plan. This is an investment plan that can be used by a senior pastor or supervisor to help evaluate the ministry of the youth pastor, using encouragement in areas of ministry success, exhortation in areas of needed improvement, and investment in varied ministry responsibilities.

The Staff Investment Plan is not intended to provide a senior pastor or supervisor with a checklist or comparison tool by which a youth pastor is found lacking, resulting in dismissal. Investment, not dismissal, is the goal. The staff investment plan is ONLY available to a senior pastor or supervisor, whose youth pastor is participating in EiYM, and has voluntarily chosen to participate in the Staff Investment Plan option.

EiYM is striving to bring the standard of excellence to every youth ministry in every church. It is not based on church size, professional level, or financial resources, but rather on a commitment to biblical principles and an act of the will. Some expected outcomes of this project are:

Unity of youth ministry commitment

• Heightened sense of expectation and passion in youth ministry

• Broken stereotypes of laziness and incompetence in youth ministry

• Increase in number of students reached with the Gospel

• Greater longevity of tenure for youth pastors

• Better relationships between youth pastors and senior pastors

For more details and information about the Excellence in Youth Ministry project, contact Andy Harrison at the BGCO Student Ministry Office, 405/942-3000, Ext. 4643.