Yesterday evening was the night scheduled for my yearly evaluation and review.
Usually these are opportunities to discover places for needed internal growth or to look for outward public weaknesses or gaps in the work that I do here. So each year I look forward to them.
Last night was very affirming and positive.
The thing with pastoral evaluations is that it"s just very difficult to provide people with a tool that is helpful for the evaluation. Do you give them a paper to fill out with multiple choice questions, or fill in the blanks? And how deep can you get with, “Circle the best option”? questions.
Those kinds of documents usually lead to surface changes, which don"t reach to the heart of the matter.
The kinds of reviews that are helpful take thought and time to complete. Yet when done well, can effect change in my ministry and work.
So what we do here is to ask two questions. What are ______________"s strengths this past year and what are his growth areas.
This places more expectation on the individual to think it through and answer in a thoughtful manner. Then the returned documents are processed by a team from the church, so that I don"t see the original answers or names of those responding.
They look for common areas of strength or concern, recording the themes and general directions peoples thoughts are going.
Because this process requires some thought, time and effort, often those people who are happy with things will not complete a form. But it does give lots of room for people to communicate if they are not happy about something or another. And it"s a good thing that people have room to communicate.
It"s also a good thing because you can see the Holy Spirit speaking through the body. If everybody were saying he seems really good at this and not at that, you could use that to redirect your ministry and work. Or if they were generally dissatisfied with your work it could be a key indication that its time to move on.
For those reasons I appreciate times like last night. I need to hear God every chance I get, and this is just another way to do that.
Anyway, it seems that God is not done with us here yet.
And I"m great with that.