When it comes to evaluating the church, small churches have a definite advantage because of their small size. It is easier to involve a significant percentage of the congregation in the process when there aren’t that many people. As well, the relationships in the small church mean that even those who choose not to take part in the evaluation process have some input through the relationship net.
For a church choosing to use the four functions as the basis for an evaluation, the process needs to begin with some teaching on the four functions. This should be done to reach as much of the church as possible. A suggestion is to preach a series of sermons on the functions to expose everyone to the ideas while doing a deeper study of the functions in a Bible Study or other group within the congregation.
When the teaching is done, bring as many of the church together as possible and review the functions. Have those attending write down everything the church is doing and place it in an appropriate category. If there is a debate about which category something belongs to, list it in all that seem appropriate. Sermons, for example, can fit in both education and worship.
If the group doing the evaluating is larger than 8-10, consider breaking into smaller groups to give everyone a chance to speak. Try to arrange the groups so that no one person dominates a group.
If the process has been done using small groups, bring everyone together and create a master list that all agree on, remembering that items can be listed in more than one category. If there was one group, their results are the master list.
Once a master list has been created, the next task is to rank the effectiveness. If small groups were used, break into the same groups. The process is simple–items are ranked on a scale of 1-5, with one being poor and being perfect. If there is disagreement on an item, average the score suggested for that item–avoid situations where people want to win support for their number. This is a subjective evaluation and people will have different views.
When this is done, create a master list again and average the scores within the functional categories. This average becomes the effectiveness rating for that category for the church. Since no church is perfect, there probably won’t be any function ranked at 5.
While this process is subjective, it is based on the reality that a group of people can rate themselves, if they are given the opportunity. They are the participants and they know how the activity affects them and can be trusted to develop a fair evaluation as a group.
I have been doing this process for a long time and it sounds simple and easy for me–the hardest parts are scheduling the teaching and finding a time to get people together. However, I am aware that people just starting the process might find it confusing, complicated or intimidating, especially if the church has never done an evaluation. I would be willing to answer questions or help out in the process if a church wants to know more–contact me through the comments section of this blog.
Once the evaluation is done, the church needs to decide what to do with the information it had obtained–there is really no point in doing the evaluation is it is just going to sit on a shelf. Tomorrow’s blog will look at what can be done with the results.
May the peace of God be with you.