We just finished a pastor/congregation evaluation process at my church.
Actually, our consultant says that this is just the beginning! We have exciting work ahead as we explore the summary documents! We should read through them prayerfully every night and consider what God is saying to us through the words of our co-congregants! What an exciting opportunity we have for growth and accountability!
Our consultant is a bit over-enthusiastic. Also well-rested from the European river cruise he took while we were all stuck in Kansas filling out the ridiculously long evaluation forms.
While I, on the other hand, am exhausted from the process. Believe it or not, people at my church really like me. For the most part. They wrote nice things. For the most part. But it’s still hard to read SO. MANY. WORDS. all about YOU. And all of the OPINIONS in the congregational review! The summary is ten pages—and we’re a small congregation. Plus it’s getting dark here at about 5:30 in the evening and I’m just tired and want to crawl into bed. So, yes. Exhaustion.
But I know our enthusiastic consultant is right. This can’t be the end of the process. We need to honor the time and energy people put into the review process and use the data we gathered to help the church move forward more faithfully.
We’ll just cut out sharing joys and concerns. . . . And keep it, because it’s some people’s favorite part of worship.
We’ll sing more songs—and fewer. With guitar, drum, and organ accompaniment.
I’ll put announcements in the bulletin, on the screen, in a weekly email, on the web site, and be sure to make personal phone calls to individuals who I imagine want to attend any given event but may have forgotten about it.
I’ll brush up on my knowledge of contemporary physics, psychology, and biblical studies while making my sermons more practical and relatable to everyday life.
I’ll have more office hours and spend more time in the community.
We’ll expand our programming for children and youth—after, of course, I manage to magically make children and youth appear at the church. Or maybe before?
We’ll be more involved in more non-profits in our community and also increase the number of Bible studies, Sunday School classes, and retreats we offer—even though not many people come to the ones we already have.
Yes, indeed. This is just the beginning! We can use this review to spark dialog and foster discernment and motivate ourselves into action. And I’m sure that by the grace of God, not to mention the encouragement of our super-consultant, we CAN use these review results to become a better church. To grow in faith and in numbers, glorifying God and serving God’s people ever more effectively.
Right after I get some sleep. Because it’s midnight-dark here at 7:30 p.m. and I’m exhausted from this pastor/congregation review we just finished. Sort of.
Rev. Joanna Harader serves as pastor of Peace Mennonite Church in Lawrence, KS, which is a very healthy and well-adjusted congregation. She had to make up some random stuff for this column because their complaints and comments in the reviews were actually not that ridiculous. Lucky her. She blogs at SpaciousFaith.com.
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