after spring break, evaluate!

This week I’m diving into the files to look at some good ideas for the last weeks of the semester. Jumping off of a post from several years ago, here are some vintage – and some new – ideas about evaluating your ministry before students leave for the summer!

One key thought: In many cases, it’s a lot easier to evaluate a ministry that’s still active. Waiting until summer will be good for some analyzation and discussion, but evaluation can benefit from seeing things in action, too. Maybe you need to evaluate once now and then again when things calm down for the summer… (And like I wrote way back here, evaluation is / should be highly contextual. These are just brainstorms to get you designing the evaluation your college ministry needs.)

Eight evaluation scenarios:

  1. You could simply survey your students – both the crowd and your student leaders – on key elements that you want your ministry to be good at. By now, they’ve had a lot of time to observe.
  2. Give a survey to your students covering a wide spectrum of spiritual needs and beliefs. (Ideas for doing that here.) Make sure each student gets a copy of their survey to help them grow, too – or even develop action plans for growing over the Summer Break.
  3. Talk to a peer college minister in town about “trading” a few students for a week. Have students from that ministry visit your ministry to observe its accessibility, friendliness, atmosphere, potential tweaks, overall enjoyment, unique components, etc. After your students visit the other ministry, debrief – with both groups of students.
  4. Sit down with staff, volunteers, and student leaders and determine how well your ministry pursued its detailed, desired outcomes for the semester.  (NOTE: This one requires that you decided detailed outcomes you were aiming for this semester!)
  5. Get in touch with ten students who graduated a year ago. Ask if they’ll fill out an anonymous survey you’ve created on The survey can ask how well they were prepared for the young adult world, how their spiritual condition compares with where they were at graduation, if they’re plugged in to Christian community, and what they would change about your college ministry.
  6. Sit down for lunch with the last ten students who joined your group. Ask how they heard about it, why they first came, why they joined, what gave them second thoughts, what they would change, how they’ve liked it so far, and so on.
  7. Ask twenty students on campus what they think about your ministry. Ask for honesty… ask if they’ve ever even heard of you guys… ask for advice! Follow those conversations wherever they lead, and pray that God might lead the conversation to spiritual impact (for them OR for you).
  8. Have five students who don’t come to your ministry (maybe the same students I mentioned in #7) surf your ministry’s web site. Have them find out simple things like directions, times, etc. Ask them if the web site makes a good impression or a bad one. Ask them if your ministry is doing a good job of serving students through your web site.

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