What do we do after we’ve begun? This week, I’m discussing ways you can use early weeks of the semester to maximize your ministry’s impact. For the rationale, read the intro post; for the whole What You Do in Week Two series, click here.

look for holes

It’s incredibly tempting in the first few weeks of the school year – or even the first few months – to remove our Evaluation Hat completely. With so much necessary focus on finding new people, running new programs, and organizing once-in-a-year events, it’s very hard to find time to make sure it’s all working well.

But even as some of those front-of-the-semester activities pass, we’ve got to remember that we’re still early in our school year. Now is the time that evaluation pays the most dividends. And at this point, the best evaluation you can do is to look for holes. (And they won’t be nearly as apparent as you might think.)

Remind yourself, your staff and leaders of what your activities were supposed to accomplish… and ask how well each purpose has actually been met. Are there students who wouldn’t say your ministry is welcoming? Activities that are fine – but no longer worth the effort? Are you personally staying close to the Lord and your other relationships? Are your recruitment efforts reaching all of campus… and are they winsome and effective?

Where are the holes? The question isn’t whether there are any, it’s where they are. So how many hours of this next week will you spend on pure evaluation? I urge you to spend at least 2 hours – and then you can get right back to the programs.

fill the holes

A big part of the reason we don’t look for holes, I’m sure, is because we don’t want to have to fill them!

But that, too, is a vital “Week 2” activity. Each hole you fill now – when you’re still actively recruiting, still forming first impressions, still setting habits and expectations for yourself, your leaders, and other students – makes a big difference.

Sure, some of the holes you find will need to be put on a list and fixed later (just make sure to calendar it!). But in some cases, it will be more important for you to fix certain issues in your operations than it would be to keep building the operation. Recruitment and earnestness matter, but so do excellence and effectiveness and other priorities.

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