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It's easy to get so busy doing ministry that you don't take the time to evaluate your ministry.
But evaluation is how you get better.
It's like your annual physical. No one wants to get a check-up, blood work and maybe a test or two, but that's how you learn what you need to know.
Then, of course, you need to act on what you learn.
The four-point plan to get better:
- Ask the right questions.
- Give honest answers in a group process.
- Determine the best-prioritized plan for improvement.
- Take action.
It starts with asking the right questions.
8 Good Questions That Will Help Your Ministry Get Better:
1. How is the unique culture of your church helping you make progress?
Sam Chand wrote an excellent book titled Breaking Your Church's Culture Code. He states that more than vision, programs, money or staff, culture has the greatest impact on your church's future.
How would you describe your culture? Is it what you want? Is your church culture helping or hurting as you pursue God's purpose for your church? What changes do you need to make? If the culture is healthy, what practices are in place to stay healthy?
2. How would you describe the overall morale of your church?
Are the people happy with your church? That question seems very subjective but is surprisingly easy to answer.
Do they trust the leadership? Are they fired-up about the mission? Are they passionate about following Jesus? Is there momentum? Are problems solved with relative ease (without significant resistance? You get the idea.
Morale and culture are closely linked. If you are struggling and the culture and morale are not ideal, I urge you to pour your leadership energy there first.
3. What is your approach to spiritual formation in your church?
Is there an overall sense that people are pursuing God? It's not about perfection, but do you see progress? What factors do you consider important to help assess spiritual maturity?
Consider things like prayer, serving others, obedience and financial generosity. How about the fruit of the Spirit like love, joy, peace and so on?
Do you utilize small groups? How is community developed? What priority does biblical truth hold? A great overall approach to assess spiritual growth is to gather stories of life change.
4. Are you developing new leaders?
Next to the favor of God, everything rises and falls on leadership. Do the leaders in your church demonstrate a strong spiritual depth and a servant's heart? What is your plan to find and develop new and better leaders? You will not realize your potential as a church without a serious dedication to this process.
Here's a great plan to start with.
5. How would you describe the strength of your volunteer teams?
Are your volunteers part of vibrant and productive teams or a struggling band of survivors? Much of that depends on how you select, train, encourage and empower your volunteers. Do you recruit to a vision or just to get a task done?
All churches face the pressure of needing people to volunteer to serve, but how you build teams makes a significant difference. How would you rate the overall esprit de corps of your volunteer ministries? What is the first best step to strengthen your teams?
6. What are the financial indicators telling you?
It is relatively easy to measure results when it comes to money. The weekly offering defines reality. At the same time, one of the largest challenges a leader will ever face is successfully inspiring the people to trust God with their finances and remain faithful to generous giving.
Are you bold in your teaching of God's truth about money? Do you offer practical training about money management? Do you personally model generosity? Where are you stronger regarding money, faith or practice?
7. Are you on mission?
You must first be clear about the purpose of your church. What is your mission/vision—exactly? Does your congregation have a good sense of what it is? Are you acting on that mission?
It's essential that your leaders become and remain aligned together in that mission. It will always feel like you are swimming upstream if you are not headed in the same direction.
8. Do your people enthusiastically invite others to your worship services?
I have coached churches where the people had obviously lukewarm feelings about the worship service. They were not motivated to invite someone even if they had a friend they wanted to bring.
It's not always the worship service, but it starts there. Is there anything about your church that would cause your congregation to pause about inviting their friends?
This is a huge evangelistic combination. If your people are committed to the vision enough to invite people to church, and your worship experience (from nursery to invitation) is worth inviting people to, that is the combination you work toward!
I trust these questions will be helpful to you and the health of your church.
I pray God's wisdom for your leadership and His favor upon you!
Dan Reiland is the Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY.
This article originally appeared at danreiland.com.
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