Preacher Evaluation…Suggestions

how can we encourage our preacher to continue to grow?

I enjoyed having a yearly evaluation from my elders. I want to know how my overseers see me. I won’t know unless they tell me. Unless they write it, I may forget. Unless we discuss what they wrote, I may not have a clear understanding.

I received this request from an elder-friend in an email recently: “It is time for our first annual elder/preacher evaluation. Do you recommend any particular questionnaire or form for us to use?”

We had a phone conversation. I wanted to know more about their thoughts and expectations.

Some things we discussed:

  1. How has this year been?
  2. What do you want to accomplish in the evaluation?
  3. List everything your preacher has done well the past twelve months. Comment on sermons, Bible classes, visits, and other acts of ministry. Be specific. Be generous. Ken Blanchard said, “Catching people doing things right provides satisfaction and motivates good performance. But remember, give praise immediately, make it specific, and finally, encourage people to keep up the good work.”
  4. Ask him what he’d like to improve and how you can help. You know you’re being good shepherds and are developing a good relationship with your preacher when he can freely tell you his weaknesses and struggles. You’ve shown him you’re concerned about him and his family as fellow Christians in this congregation and not just as an employee. Does he want to improve his Bible knowledge? A lectureship, Polishing the Pulpit, a college course or degree might be a good goal—if he’s committed to it. Does he need to improve skills in speaking and ministry? Better Preaching workshops have practical ideas and good fellowship with other preachers. Would a couple’s retreat led by competent people to improve his marriage and parenting skills make him a better husband, father, and leader of his family?
  5. If this is your first evaluation as an elder and with this preacher, it would be good to practice before you do his evaluation. I also think if it’s the twentieth one, practice would be helpful. For your practice, set a time for each elder to evaluate each elder, using the same principles listed above. I’d never thought of this until I heard an elder from North Jackson Church of Christ speaking at Freed-Hardeman University Lectureship year before last. He told about their practice of not only evaluating staff but also each elder.

But what about things he needs to correct? Don’t we need to address these?

I hope you haven’t waited a year to address what you don’t like.

If I knew my evaluation was to be all my mistakes in the last 12 months, I’d dread it like a whipping. Click To Tweet

Those things need to be addressed quickly. When I was the office manager in two churches, hiring and supervising secretaries, I had a 48-hour rule: “If you’re doing something I don’t like or not doing something I want to be done, you’ll know in forty-eight hours.” I won’t save a list of failures for a year and list them at your evaluation. To be more specific, I won’t mention any of them. I’ll have already addressed them day-by-day.

That’s the way I want to be treated.

As a follower of Jesus, if that’s the way I want to be treated, that’s the way I’ll treat others. Click To Tweet

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12, NKJV).

What suggestions do you have for edifying evaluations?

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7 thoughts on “Preacher Evaluation…Suggestions

  1. I HAD NEVER GIVEN CONSIDERATION TO SOME OF WHAT YOU MENTIONED..I ALWAYS HAD A MONTHOY MEETING W/THE ELDERS AND SOME OF THOSE THINGS WERE DISCUSSED IN THOSE MONTHLY MEETINGS..PLUS, I WOULD OFTEN ASK THEM WHAT THEY LIKED OR DID NOT LIKE ABOUT MY WORK/SERVICE….THANK YOU FOR SUCH GREAT THOUGHT PROVOKING MATERIAL !!!

  2. Good stuff brother! I love this line: “I won’t know unless they tell me.” There is no such thing as over-communication, is there?

    • 1 Corinthians 2:11: I don’t know what you’re thinking unless you tell me. You don’t know what I’m thinking unless I tell you. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. 1. Begin and end with prayer, to set the focus and tone of the meeting, and to commit the discussion and outcome to God. After all, it’s all about honouring and glorifying Him!
    2. Lead off with the strengths, and be specific about why these are strengths and how to improve.
    3. Discuss the weaker areas from a perspective of opportunities for growth and development rather than flaws. Again, be specific about an action plan to address these areas, with an accountability system.
    4. Avoid the trap of using this meeting to vent personal agendas and personality differences. Agree beforehand that, if this starts, it’s fair to flag it and refocus. This may also require prayer in the moment for God’s peace and direction.