Have I mentioned that we’re expecting our first baby in November?

It gets me thinking about a topic I return to on occasion, and then a different sort of way to think about your “goals” for this school year.

When I did a nationwide review of ten Chi Alpha ministries for their national office, one of their college ministers – a “lifer” whose ministry at North Dakota State had a longtime impact – shared in stark terms his goals (and assessment) for what he was doing. As I wrote in the resulting book Chi Alpha on Campus,

[Brad Lewis] recognizes that students’ continued spiritual success after graduation will prove the worth of their campus ministry experience. He expressed the hope to call … alumni five years after graduation and “find them serving or volunteering … in a Spirit-filled church, married to a godly spouse, raising godly kids, with their finances in order, affecting both their workplace and their neighborhood for Jesus.”

So on the eve of child-rearing, I mentally stumble upon another assessment that sounds a lot like Lewis’s:

What – specifically – are we doing this semester to create better employees, better spouses, better parents, better church members, better bosses, and better neighbors?

Of course, you might be able to think of some better “betters” (or at least additional items) to add to that list. But the goal here is to get specific – really ask yourself how students are likely to be better in those categories because of your collegiate ministry. (You could start by listing out the character qualities, training, and other elements that would contribute to each category.)

This isn’t the only assessment, and maybe this idea will land with a theoretical thud. But ultimately we’d hope that our collegiate impact will be bearing very practical fruit, and this might be one way to get there.

I know my daughter will be thankful.