I got to hang out with my sister and her hubby-to-be this week, and I got to hear some of their “big story” firsthand. I get excited about couples’ stories – at least when it’s clear they’re neat, happy, God-written stories (like theirs).
So that got me thinking about how we assess our ministries. One question worth asking is if I’m seeing God write a lot of great stories among the students in my campus ministry!
Is it common for my ministry to see really good
- conversion stories?
- job stories?
- educational stories?
- friendship stories?
- romantic stories?
- restoration stories?
- reconciliation stories?
- creativity stories?
- great party stories?
- great road trip stories?
- service stories?
- realization stories?
- stories that will be long remembered?
By good, I don’t mean “successful” or even “positive” (at least in our own understanding). But I mean good. I mean glorifying.
Are there lots of students we can point to who are dating well, who are studying “Christianly,” who have been converted, who are seeing friends throw off sins that were deeply embedded? Are we seeing prayers answered and families rejuvenated and baby Christians discipled? Do we have something FANTASTIC to talk about when testimony time comes calling?
Not all of our evaluation needs to be anecdotal – we need to ask quantifiable questions about how many students are attending Bible studies weekly, what percentage of the campus feels we’re an asset to the school, how many students are plugged into church after they graduate. In fact, I’d guess that we rely too much on “I know a few students who have been impacted” to satisfy us that our ministries are fully what they need to be.
But at some point, I think it’s worth counting stories. For one thing, that makes us measure how close we’ve stayed to the action. It clarifies whether or not we really know our individual sheep or whether we’ve begun simply to see the flock.
Then, it makes us question whether ours is actually a college ministry with life to it, a soil-patch indeed teeming with energy and life and growth like soil-patches are meant to.
Finally, it makes us celebrate. Because maybe there are stories there, but we forgot to keep repeating them.