Based on my own experiences and my encounters with numerous ministries, it appears the time needed to “establish” a new or restarting college ministry is very often 2 to 3 years – at least. That means that before this time, evaluating a ministry should be done especially carefully, and its numerical growth during that period won’t necessarily be a good indicator of its future success.
An interesting note on this: Often church-based college ministries bear the brunt of impatience. Why? Probably because while campus-based ministries tend to be evaluated by fellow college ministry professionals, in church ministries that’s rarely the case.
Because of the specific nature of college ministry, it’s difficult for anyone without experience in this field – pastors, parents, and others – to correctly evaluate a college ministry without really careful study of the issues involved. (It’s hard enough for those who are college ministry trained to assess a ministry.)
I strongly suspect that plenty of college ministers have caught the raw end of that whole deal.