Nov 23, 2015
Evaluating the Ministry
This piece from Cru Press Green offers insightful questions for evaluating your collegiate ministry.
Editor’s note: This piece was written specifically for Cru audiences, but has application for most collegiate ministry models.
Evaluation is essential to any endeavor. Evaluation keeps us from repeating the same mistakes year after year. Planning asks, “What will we do?” before the event while Evaluation asks, “How did we do?” after the event. Only through evaluation can we discover what we did right, what we did wrong, what we could have done better, and what we will do next time.
In evaluating your ministry it is very important to evaluate the right things. If you went to your doctor for a physical, and he looked at you and said, “You’re tan, well-groomed, and nicely dressed” you’d be more than suspicious. You’d want him to tell you the truth about your health not your appearance. It is easy to jump right in and start evaluating the schedule, programs, and strategies without taking time to step back and think carefully about what needs to be evaluated. It is possible to positively evaluate programs and still be heading in the wrong direction. Here then, are some of the critical things that should receive regular evaluation.
If you continue in the same direction, where will you be in a year?
Are you trying to accomplish the right things in the right time?
Do students look forward to being together with their friends in Crusade?
Do students express that they are growing and enjoy being a part of the ministry?
Are students spontaneously initiating outreach? Is there an expressed desire to know God better?
Are a large percentage of students walking in the Spirit?
Are the majority of students having a regular quiet time?
Is there a healthy sense of momentum?
Are we closer now to realizing our objectives than we were a year ago?
Has the number of students involved grown over the quarter/year?
How many students are going to retreats and summer projects?
Are we reaching new target audiences or launching new movements?
How many freshmen are involved?
Growth and health over time will produce maturity in your movement.
What percentage of students are leading small groups?
How many students are sharing their faith in a target area/audience?
How many students are going on Summer Projects?
Are you seeing a steady flow of students going into the ministry?
EVALUATE TEAM RELATIONS
It is possible to have accomplished all of your goals, but if your team had a miserable year, then what have you really accomplished.
Does your team enjoy being together?
Can you list five fun things you did together as a team?
Did you, as a team leader, accomplish your goals?
Did you function as a team or as individuals this year?
Evaluate your faithfulness and effort in doing what you believe God wanted you to do toward accomplishing your goals. How well did you do your part?
EVALUATE “SUCCESS CRITERIA”
Evaluate how closely you came to accomplishing your goals and desires. It is one thing to evaluate whether you did things right. It is quite another to evaluate whether or not you did the right things! It is possible to be faithful to the wrong things. Are you raising-up leaders/laborers, exposing the campus to the gospel, launching new movements, etc. If you don’t like the results you are getting, in spite of your faithfulness in doing your part, maybe you are doing the wrong things.
EVALUATE STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMS
Do your plan, schedule, and programs have a strong correlation to your goals? How does each thing you do help to accomplish your purpose? Where are you overlapping and duplicating your efforts? Try to evaluate what you did under the broad categories of Expose, Win, Build, Send, Train, and Launch.
Be honest. Everything doesn’t have to be “a great success,” or “awesome,” or “unbelievable.” If you can’t name a few failures (and laugh at them), you probably haven’t been exercising faith, because faith involves risk of failure. The ministry belongs to the Lord. Evaluate not only how the event turned out but whether you should have had the event at all. If it was lame, say so! Learn from your mistakes.
EVALUATE THE SCOPE OF YOUR IMPACT
How widely did you throw out the net? If God were working in a person’s life on campus, what contact points would he or she have with your ministry— publicity, surveys, outreaches, Christian students, etc.? Are you reaching the freshman class?
EVALUATE CHANGED LIVES
After all is said and done, the question is not how busy we were but whose lives were changed because of your ministry on campus.
Who has come to Christ this quarter/year?
Who is living by faith?
Who is learning to live in God’s grace?
Evaluating who’s been taught or trained is not meaningful unless students are living differently.
EVALUATE THE FUTURE
Who are the future leaders of the movement?
Who are the Freshmen that are involved?
Who are the students who will be going on projects this summer?
FOUR QUESTIONS OF EVALUATION
In evaluating the components of your ministry, ask:
- “What did we do well?”
- “What did we do that needs improvement?”
- “What did we not do that we should have done?”
- “What will we do next year?”
WHO SHOULD EVALUATE?
Leaders who have had responsibilities for the preceding year should do the evaluation. You may also want to include future leadership so they will have a better idea of the “hows” and “whys” of your movement. A good rule of thumb to follow is this: Only those who will be implementing the plans should have the responsibility for making the plans. As a team, you don’t want those who won’t be around next year to plan the schedule.
As a team leader, you are responsible for thinking through the evaluation beforehand but it’s also wise to have your team exercising some forethought. You may find it beneficial to have people fill out a preliminary evaluation so that they have given some prayerful attention to the evaluation before they show up.