Thursday, November 6, 2014

More on Evaluating your Ministry

I recently wrote about doing anonymous written surveys to help you evaluate and know honestly how your ministry is doing and how it is perceived (Getting Honest About Your Ministry), But, I am also a big fan of talk sessions.

I believe now is the perfect time for some evaluation of the fall semester. No; it's not over, but you can see the end from here. Much of what you have done this fall is still fresh in everyone's mind. And, it's still not quite time to do some of the spring semester scheduling. If you do a specialized Freshmen Ministry, invite 4 or 5 freshmen for a sit down session with you about their view of what happened in your Freshmen Bible Study Groups. It was in a session like this once I heard a freshman say, "You should give the upperclass leaders the Bible study material in advance, so they are not reading it for the first time with us". I said, "What?". Obviously, the leaders were receiving the material in advance.....but....I learned something that day.

We would also do an evaluation in our large group weekly Freshmen event, but we did it the last week. It dawned on me...the ones that liked it were still there....the ones that felt it was not worth their time were already gone. Is there a way to get some feedback from those who disappeared from your ministry after the first month or so? Maybe, evaluations should be done before the last session! In some ways, those that have left your ministry have more to tell you than those that have stayed.

I am also all about inviting 4 or 5 students for pizza and talk about the ministry. I have found there is something magic about free pizza that makes students talk more.

The hardest and most important thing you must do in these type sessions is keep your mouth shut and listen. Never justify or explain. Ask questions and listen.

Consider inviting a student to lunch who was very connected at the beginning of the semester and then stopped coming. Tell them you would like their insight about the ministry, both strengths and weaknesses. Again, swallow and listen hard. It won't all be fun.

But remember, one bad or angry comment is not necessarily a correct observation of your whole ministry. Honest evaluation is always a step toward your ministry being stronger.

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