Time for a chapter checkup!
Evaluate your group’s health
How is your group doing? Directon, energy, health and atmosphere are all qualities to consider in a mid-term group checkup.
Late fall is a good time to reflect on your chapter life so far this year. Two areas to consider are the “momentum” of your group—its direction and energy—and its “tone,” which can mean both its overall health and atmosphere. Below are some guidelines for evaluating the momentum and tone of your chapter. Work through them and use your responses as discussion starters with other chapter leaders.
Thinking back over the last couple of years, name two major, ongoing events in the life of your chapter (for example, New Student Outreach, a winter conference, a traditional social event, a regular evangelistic thrust, etc.).
Are chapter leaders committed to these events? How do they demonstrate this level of commitment?
Do chapter members create momentum by talking about these events in all levels of the chapter (large group, small group, one to one)? If not, how could you encourage them to do so?
What is done to make publicity for these events attractive and informative? What needs improvement?
Do you offer easy and frequent opportunities for students to get involved in these events? How?
Do you promote these events with creative skits and media tools at large-group meetings?
Prayer: Does your group pray through all your plans for large-group meetings?
Atmosphere: How would you describe the atmosphere of large-group meetings as people arrive and as meetings begin? Is there a fun, warm atmosphere that welcomes both regular members and new people? Do you play music before the meeting to help set a lively tone? When the meeting begins is the emcee buoyant, assertive and spirited? How could the emcee develop better “form”?
Music: Does the music leader carefully plan the evening’s songs and then lead them well? Is there a mixture of style and tempo? A good flow? Does the music reflect the cultural diversity within the fellowship? Rate the music overall.
Speakers: Do you invite speakers who are interesting, challenging, and stay within time limits? If your guest speakers usually go over their time limits, or are boring week after week, what can you do to bring change?
After the meeting, do you provide snacks and music to encourage people to stay and talk?
Chapter Life in General:
Describe the level of friendships that exist within the chapter. Do chapter members socialize outside of “official” chapter functions? Why or why not?
How is your group characterized in terms of prayer, hospitality and servanthood? Where is the group strongest? Where is it weakest? What can you do to improve these important basics of chapter life?
How do you express appreciation to students who serve on committees and help with tasks? If this needs improvement, how can you do so?
Do new people find it easy to merge into the life of your chapter? Why or why not? What roles are available for new students who want to serve?
New Student Outreach (NSO):
Does your NSO focus more on meeting and loving people than on organizing events? Discuss this contrast and how the two can go hand in hand.
Do you make your events fun, colorful, hospitable (with food), and attractive to other ethnicities? For indoor events, do you use decorations? How could you improve the overall look and feel of your events?
Is your NSO publicity creative and eye-catching? What, if anything, needs to be upgraded?
If you use a chapter publicity brochure, does it seem to say, “We have a warm, welcoming Christian fellowship. Please join us” or does it say, “This is what we stand for. Join us if you also believe this”? How can you make your literature welcoming, intriguing and informative?
Have you built solid NSO traditions so that you don’t have to re-invent everything each year? If not, what events would make good traditions?
Some of these questions might be appropriate to use in a chapter-wide evaluation that every member can participate in. Gather their responses and use them as you move forward into the year.
—Rick Mattson is a regional director for InterVarsity and lives in St. Paul, MN with his family. He enjoys theology, golf, and playing the guitar.
Posted on: Oct 23, 2005
Last modified on: Jan 9, 2007
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