There’s a third ingredient I would love to see far more liberally applied to college ministries.
Except for those whose personalities are specifically attuned to assessing and/or tweaking their ministries, it has never seemed that “spot checks” and other quality control measures are a big priority among college ministers.
Sure, I recognize that we have our forms and assessments required by many of our overseers. And those things can (sometimes) be helpful.
But I believe one of the biggest roadblocks to the effectiveness we could have as college ministries is that MUCH is “lost in translation” between the hopes in our heads and actual accomplishments – of our various special events, our weekly activities, and even our entire semesters.
How often do you semi-objectively evaluate EACH of the methods within your college ministry? This means far more than spending 15 minutes after an activity saying, “How’d it go? Did students like it? Did we get any compliments or complaints? Was it worth the effort?”
While some of those questions may be a jumping-off point, the far more important questions come along the lines of
- Did it accomplish the purposes we developed that activity around?
- Could it have accomplished those purposes better?
- Did we plan and prepare well enough before this activity?
- How did it help (or hinder) the progress we’re pushing for in our ministry and individual students?
- Are our leaders (student leaders or otherwise) skilled in what they did / what they’re doing? How can we continue to train them?
- How sure are we about our answers to these questions – and how can we measure these well?
…and we shouldn’t just be asking these questions about individual events (a Large Group Meeting, a message, a campus-wide event, a retreat). We should be regularly asking these kinds of assessing Qs about every single one of our standard forms – our small groups this semester, our regular social activities, the series of messages we’re in the middle of, the worship at our Large Group Meetings, announcements, etc. Even little bitty things – your email communications or the ways you setup for Large Group.
While the title of this blog isn’t prescribing a set time (I just wanted a good round number), I imagine running a hard-core, well-done evaluation of your ministry every three weeks would drastically improve your effectiveness. Whatever time frame you choose, would you consider adding the Evaluation ingredient a lot more next year?