One really productive – but slightly tricky – assessment for your ministry is asking how your students spent their time when they weren’t surrounded by the accountability and encouragements of your college ministry.

In other words, did they follow Jesus this summer?

If you can figure out a good way to ask this, it will show you a lot about your effectiveness as a college ministry: how well you’re building students’ personal walk, how well you’re preparing them for their post-college spirituality, etc.

But two concerns:

Not shaming. A question like, “How often did you spend time reading the Bible?” (for example) gets to the point effectively. But it might make you uncomfortable because it feels a little heavy-handed (it does to me). Maybe I’d feel differently tomorrow. But it might be more effective to ask open-ended questions (“What did you your spiritual walk look like this summer?”) or self-assessment questions (“On a scale of 1-10, how effectively do you feel like you kept your spiritual walk going this summer?”) – some combination of those might be the best route here.

Get going. Generally, you want to avoid the Observer Effect when you’re surveying. But in this case – if you ask these questions now – it might work in everybody’s favor. What if you polled students mid-summer? Might it help them reflect and adjust this very vital segment of their lives?