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Do you evaluate based on effort?

Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof Wednesday January 6, 2010
<? echo $type; ?> Do you evaluate based on effort?

So you work on church staff or volunteer at a church. You work hard. I get that. But a few years ago I had a sobering thought. As leaders and volunteers, we spend 99 percent of our time in preparation for ministry and about 1 percent evaluating what we’ve done. The congregation does exactly the opposite. They spend 1 percent of their energy preparing for an event, and 99 percent of their time evaluating it (after all, that’s what lunch after church is all about, right?). You could hear the giant gulp in my throat for miles the first time I realized that.

Last year I challenged our staff with that thought. I think our evaluation as staff or key volunteers can be skewed. I know I want to give myself marks for effort. Here are the questions I’m tempted to ask myself:

  • Did I work really hard on an event?
  • Did I do my best?
  • Did it go well?

Sure, evaluation is more complex than that, but the truth is, I like to applaud effort. Increasingly, though, I worry that we applaud ourselves too easily for effort.

Here’s a question I ask myself and our team more and more: What happens after they walk out the door? For me as a senior pastor, what happens after the message Sunday needs to be more important than what happens Sunday before or during the message. If the message isn’t going anywhere or doing anything in people’s lives, what’s the point? I’d like to hear what you think about all this, and tomorrow I’ll post more on this topic of evaluation.

Carey Nieuwhof is the founding pastor of Connexus Church, a growing multi-campus church north of Toronto and strategic partner of North Point Community Church. Prior to starting Connexus, Carey served for 12 years in a mainline church, transitioning three small congregations into a single, rapidly growing church. Carey is the author of several best-selling books, including the Amazon #1 best-selling Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow. He is also the author of Leading Change Without Losing It and co-author of Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey writes one of today's most widely read Christian leadership blogs at www.careynieuwhof.com and hosts the top-rated Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast, where he interviews some of today's best leaders. He speaks to North American and global leaders about leadership, change and personal growth. He and his wife Toni live near Barrie, Ontario and have two sons.