What “hard numbers” can you use to evaluate your college ministry?

Of course, some college ministers are required to submit “number of spiritual conversations” and other statistics to their bosses. But I’m talking about stats not for external use but for internal use.

But counting – in ministry – can be hard, beyond counting basic numbers like Large Group attendance, Small Group attendance, and number of leaders.

Yet numbers help you evaluate – and not just by saying “big numbers are better.” For instance, if more freshmen visit the ministry this August than they did last year, I’d love to try to discover why, not just celebrate the visits. (And even tracking number of visitors – versus overall attendance – might be a step better for some campus ministries.)

Likewise, both obvious and non-obvious stats could help you learn about your ministry – including examining changes over time. Here are a very few ideas:

  • Number of students who did a service project this school year
  • How many students spent spring break at home / in town / on mission / etc.
  • Where your students live on campus (or off)
  • Average number of times students attend their small group per month
  • Which majors you’ve been drawing students from
  • Average age of students / number per class
  • Number of students who came to school “churched” vs. “unchurched”
  • Number of students involved in a local church now
  • How many years students tend to stay committed to your college ministry
  • How many students are members of a local church one year after graduating college

I could go on forever. These are just random ideas I had over about 10 minutes. You don’t need to come up with fifty numbers, but five to ten could provide you some excellent learnings… especially, as I’ve said, if you keep tracking them over time.