First United Church of Nazareth
Pastoral Evaluation Report
from Pastor/Congregation Relations Committee (PCRC)
Over the past three weeks, the PCRC has asked congregation members to submit pastoral evaluations as we seek to provide accountability to our pastor and strengthen our congregation’s ministry in the community. We appreciate all who took the time to fill out an evaluation. The PCRC will be working with pastor Jesus in the coming weeks to establish a professional growth plan. Below you will see a summary of the responses we received along with representative quotes from individual surveys.
Many congregation members feel that Pastor Jesus is inconsistent both in length and quality of his sermons. Several people would like to hear sermons that are more “encouraging” and less of “a downer.” There is also some concern that listeners without a deep knowledge of scripture might not fully understand his preaching.
“That sermon he preached on the mountain was way too long.”
“His messages can be a bit heavy-handed. ‘Take up your cross.’ ‘Gouge out your eye.’ Not really seeker-friendly sermons.”
Some lay leaders feel that Pastor Jesus expects too much of them—his request that they feed over 5,000 people at a recent public gathering was cited several times. Many have sensed that he is impatient with them when they do not immediately understand his guidance, and one key leader claims that Pastor called him a name (Satan) in front of others. On a positive note, leaders who frequently travel with Jesus appreciate his ability to find hospitable accommodations and good wine.
“I would say that Pastor Jesus doesn’t seem particularly organized, but things seem to work out.”
“Sometimes I hear him mutter under his breath: ‘How long must I be with them?’. It kind of hurts my feelings and I’m thinking of resigning from the executive board.”
Biblical Knowledge and Teaching:
There is general agreement that Pastor Jesus knows scripture very well, though there is some concern that he may be twisting its meaning to fit his own theological ideals. Many note that he is a dynamic teacher, but admit they often do not fully understand what he is trying to say.
“Jesus’ teachings can be contradictory. Are we supposed to honor our parents or hate them? If someone isn’t for us, are they against us or not? I honestly don’t know what he’s saying half the time.”
“I don’t get the parables. Just. Nope. No idea.”
Mission Leadership and Involvement
People are appreciative of the preaching and healing ministry that Pastor Jesus has in the community and in other parts of the country as well. However, there is some concern that his focus on mission detracts from his ability to give proper attention to the congregation.
“He spends too much time with people who aren’t even part of the church. And don’t get me started on how much he talks to women and kids.”
“He doesn’t have enough office hours. . . . Come to think of it, I’m not sure he even has an office.”
Denominational and Ecumenical Work
This is noted as a particular area for improvement. Many congregants are disturbed that Jesus seems to be developing distinctly antagonistic relationships with other leaders of our own faith while being far too friendly with people of other faiths.
“I heard that Jesus went through Samaria. On purpose. And talked at length with a Samaritan woman there. Very troubling behavior.”
“I don’t understand why he has to cause problems with the other pastors around here. Just go along to get along—it’s not that hard. I’m tired of getting dirty looks from people when they figure out that I go to ‘that church with the crazy pastor–Jesus Christ.'”
Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS, where she is overdue for her 3-year pastoral evaluation. You can find her blog at SpaciousFaith.com.
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