Before I get to practical possibilities for how you and I might evaluate our college ministries, I think the keys to forming a good evaluation plan probably include:
- Decide it’s important
- Be honest about real questions to ask
- Be specific to your group
- Take the time to get it done
- Pray like crazy
If those five things are in place, my guess is that we’ll each come up with some solid evaluation techniques that fit our college ministry situations.
First, we’ve got to decide that evaluation is truly important. Without that motivation, this won’t happen.
We’ve got to be willing to ask questions that could bring annoying answers. (It’s easy to ask only questions that will bring favorable or benign answers, even as a subconscious choice.)
But your evaluation questions won’t be my questions. And your questions this year won’t be your questions next year, either. While it’s not a bad idea to have some standard, “timeless” questions, measuring your purposes and progress and campus impact will all relate to specifics about your present college ministry. (Which begs the question, Can we really know what questions to ask if we’re not all that familiar with our college ministry or its context?)
We’ve got to take the time to evaluate, too. I know time isn’t one of our abundant resources. But if evaluation is important, then we’ll take the time.
And finally, through the whole process, we had better pray like crazy; God is more interested in improving our ministries than we are, and He’ll give us the tools to do it… if we’re willing to be honest and take the time (as mentioned above). He wants to walk with us (as always), not just send us to take measurements and then come back and tell Him about it. He’s got all sorts of creative ways to determine if our very best campus mission is being built.
(For seven ways you might try evaluating, see this post.)