Evaluation – it’s a word that has a lot of fear attached to it. I learned one thing early on in ministry – honest evaluation is essential to effective ministry. HOW that evaluation happens is where many churches drop the ball. To move any ministry area forward, evaluation needs to focus on what happened and whether or not the expected results were achieved. Looking at a worship service, or a church website, or an outreach event, or a guest services structure, etc… and saying “Did that get us where we were trying to go?” Not “was it good” or the even less useful “did I/you like it?”

Here’s the key element of helping any evaluation process to be effective, and it happens up front: Defining the “win.” Using a weekend service as an example, everyone involved needs to be clear on the intended goal(s). What was the purpose of the service? Did the service achieve that purpose? Did it get sidetracked by a lack of focus – or too many cooks in the kitchen – or a lack of preparation – or the fact that there was a huge traffic jam in the parking lot, or kids check-in, etc… 

Removing fear and accusation is also essential. Problems happen – it’s the nature of our world. If finger-pointing starts the minute something goes wrong, the church culture has serious issues – expecting perfection is a combination ego/insecurity issue. If there is a pattern of a ongoing issues, that’s a different story, and must be addressed. However, an overall feeling of safety will make it much more likely that truthful evaluation – and effective self-evaluation – will occur.

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