Ministry Evaluations: Evaluation apart from action is an exercise in futility

Recently I spoke with our staff about the evaluation of ministries, events and programs.  Below are a brief set of notes I put together for the talk.

Evaluation is an “investment” issue.

Paul used the “Unity of the Spirit” discussion in leading the church at Ephesus in one form of evaluating.

Ephesians 4:11-16 MSG
11 filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher
12 to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church,
13 until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
14 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors.
15 God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do.
16 He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

Thoughts we might consider when evaluating ministries:

1.    Are they moving rhythmically (vs. 13)
Evaluation markers – easily, efficient, graceful

  • is the ministry fluid?  Does it create ease of motion? (easily with each other)
    individuals – are you moving rhythmically?
    teams – does it fit the team?
    campuses – how does it affect a mulit-site environment (compounding affect)
  • is the ministry the best use of God’s resources (efficient or effective)
    good – isn’t always as good as we think it is.
    best – investment in things that have eternal impact (there is a limit)
    “good isn’t always best, best is best” Doug Fields
  • does the mission drive the ministry = grace (graceful)
    what is the motive? is it out of vision, obligation, personal pride,… what?
    who serves whom? Mission or Ministry?

2.    Is it the right investment? UNTIL and UNTO (vs. 13-14)

  • is the ministry maturing (maturing question)
    don simmons – “don’t feed a dead horse”
    has the ministry seen it’s lifespan?
  • is it required for the mission (development question)
    (example – a, b, c buckets)
    a = only things that are eternal (this must happen)
    b = best things, required for the mission
    c = good things, but if they went away eternity wouldn’t know.
  • is it a vibrant source of life (alive question)
    is it a drain on you, your team, the church?
    life breeds life

3.   Can we be Truth Tellers? (speak the truth in love)– (vs 15)
This is one of the toughest parts of ministry, speaking the truth in love when a ministry either doesn’t fit the rhythm of the mission any longer, it isn’t financially the right use of resources, and it is no longer a vibrant source of life.  And when this time comes, and it will come.  It will be your responsibility to speak truth in love.  And when you do, recall Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:2ff :

  • with all humility (vs 2)
  • gentleness
  • patience
  • showing tolerance for one another
  • being diligent; to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Nuggets about Evaluation:

  • Good systems are invisible. (don simmons)
  • We measure what matters and what matters counts. (don simmons)
  • We inspect what we expect. (rick warren)
  • Evaluation apart from action is an exercise in futility. (me)

Take Aways:

  • Focus on teams and programs… not ministry partners (don simmions)
  • Ask the tough questions about the ministry
  • Evaluate:
    with strategic planning
    after events
    when effectiveness is an issue
  • Red – Yellow – Green
    what must we Stop
    what must we Continue
    what must we Start

CAUTION: Don’t ask if you are not going to move on them.

Use evaluation as an investment tool to make your
ministry and ministry environment healthier.

Speak Your Mind