Evaluation is a powerful tool for improvement yet is often perceived as simply a rearview mirror into the past. A two-tier qualitative method was used to uncover the practice and understanding of evaluation among youth pastors in Illinois. Reliance on indicators, such as stories and observation, tended to reinforce assumptions in practice. Evaluation was pervasive, powerfully guided perception, and primarily implicit.
Key Words: youth ministry, evaluation, communities of practice, networking, assessment, church work with youth