Two years ago, 523 of our campus staff participated in a survey conducted in conjunction with the Lilly Foundation. We recently received our report and I am pleased to share what we have learned.
Eight other campus ministries also participated – Assembly of God, Evangelical Lutherans (ELCA), Presbyterians (PCUSA), Catholics, Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a variety of campus chaplains. Complete results may be found at www.campusministrystudy.org.
Nearly 60% of our campus staff participated in the survey – the highest of any ministry. Questions focused solely upon students and did not include faculty ministry. To my knowledge, this is the first time that InterVarsity campus staff have ever participated in such a survey.
1. We Sense Gods Calling
90% of our campus staff cite “calling from God” as the main reason they decide to join staff. I am very thankful for this response because, in challenging times, calling anchors our hearts. Amongst staff from the eight other campus ministries, calling was cited by 64% as their highest motivation.
2. We Enjoy Each Other
In a question about collaboration, our campus staff clearly enjoy each other, their Area Directors, Regional Directors and national leaders. Each of these relationships scored 4.48 or above (on a 5 point scale). On the other hand, one-third of our staff said that they feel lonely “fairly often.”
3. We Prize Evangelism and Student Leadership
The top three goals of our campus staff are: a) bringing students to Christ; b) equipping students to minister to their peers; and c) facilitating students’ spiritual formation. While these responses were not surprising to me, I must confess being saddened by the fact that evangelism does not appear in the top-six goals of the cumulative responses from the other ministries.
4. We Love Students
Survey participants were given 25 options in response to the question of “most satisfying job activities.” The top two InterVarsity responses are: a) Bible study and small groups with students; and, b) individual mentoring, coaching and spiritual direction.
5. We Recruit from Within
82% of our field staff were “extremely involved” with an InterVarsity chapter as undergraduates. Only 4% had no involvement.
6. We Work Hard
Our full-time campus staff spend an average of 48 hours per week in ministry activities. Staff for the other eight ministries report spending an average of 51 hours per week. Our level of dissatisfaction with work load (30%) is nearly identical with that of campus ministers from the Evangelical Lutherans (31%) and United Methodists (27%).
7. We Want to be Developed
Given 17 options related to specialized training, our staff highest priorities are: a) mentoring, coaching, spiritual direction; b) strategic planning, and; c) Biblical studies.
8. We are Politically Diverse
This result may surprise some. 37% of our field staff are either politically conservative or lean that way; 36% are moderates; 27% are either liberal or lean that way. While we often celebrate other forms of our diversity – e.g. ethnicity, gender, denominational – I am thankful that we are diverse in our political views as well. This makes for robust conversations!
9. We Utilize Volunteers
Well over half of our chapters utilize at least one non-student volunteer. While this is encouraging, I would love to see us to move further in this direction in the future.
10. We are in for the Long Haul
To the question of whether staff want to be with InterVarsity five years from now, 68% responded “yes” and only 17% said “no.” This response was a pleasant surprise for me. Frankly, I expected a higher percentage of our younger staff to view their time with the Fellowship to be more short term in nature.
InterVarsity-specific data from this study has been posted on the staff web page