good evaluation begins today

What are you already putting in place within your college ministry to successfully assess its impact later on this semester?

Evaluation may take place after-the-fact, but preparing for evaluation before-the-fact might make the after-the-fact happen better. To do this, we may just have to get to thinking: What will I be looking for? How am I going to get that info? Can I evaluate along-the-way (mid-semester, mid-week, mid-event, mid-retreat) and adjust? Who will help me evaluate? Whose assessment – while not unimportant – might not matter as much?

(The first step of good evaluation, of course, is figuring out what purposes you’re aiming for in the first place.)

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One Comment

  1. Thanks Benson. A great challenge for us. Reminds me of Andy Stanley’s ‘7 Practices of Effective Ministry,” where he uses a baseball illustration to emphasis the importance of “clarifying the win.” Here’s some notes from his book:

    It is impossible to know if you are making progress if you are not clear about your destination. This means examining each and every event and program and asking the question, When all is said and done, what is it we want to look back on and celebrate?

    You need to know when you’re getting ahead, and your people need to know what to cheer. That’s the first step: Clarify the Win.

    How? Just ask yourself, What is the most important thing? And it will start to become clear. Changed lives.

    How do you know when a baseball team is winning? It’s obvious. An enormous scoreboard is placed in the center of the stadium so the crowd and players can see how their team is doing. Most organizations recognize the need to have some type of “scoreboard”. Public companies post third-quarter gains. Schools report their students’ aggregate test scores. Television networks have their Nielsen ratings. In these scenarios the score is obvious, and there are consequences if it goes out of business. If test scores fall below an acceptable level, a school loses its accreditation.

    How do you know, if a church is winning? The very nature of what a church does makes it difficult to keep score. Hoe do you create a scoreboard that measures intangibles like relevant teaching and changed lives?

    Most churches do not have a reliable system for defining and measuring what success looks like at every level of the organization. Instead they post some general statistics that give them a vague sense of progress or failure as a church, and they go through the motions of continuing to do ministry the way they always have, productive or not. Thus it is possible for a church to become very efficient at doing ministry ineffectively.

    The church should be more determined than any other kind of organization to “clarify the win” simply because the stakes are so much higher: Eternity hangs in the balance.

    Too many church leaders have bought into the myth that to clarify the win means establishing attendance goals and raising a lot of money. These strong numbers in these areas do not necessarily mean you are winning.

    A different set of questions comes to mind when we talk about what it means to win. For example, do attendees feel comfortable inviting their un-churched friends? Are members recognizing the need to give a percentage of their income? How many individuals are successfully connecting to small groups? Do our people understand how to apply the scriptural truths we’re teaching in their daily lives?

    The best way to leverage the collective power of your team is to make sure that everyone knows what is means to “score”.

    Volunteers need to know that their investment of time is going to make a difference. They will work hard and make incredible sacrifices as long as they know what the goal is and that what they’re doing actually counts.

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