By Todd West, Director of Activate, DiscipleGuide.
Featured in mission:world magazine, May – June 2017 issue
Evaluations are very familiar to most of us today? Students are evaluated through testing, employees are evaluated by their employers, teachers are evaluated by administrators, and we conduct our own self-evaluations; but have you ever considered the value of evaluating the ministries of your local church? Author and Pastor Dr. Hal Seed says, “To have a healthy church, you must have an intentional evaluation system.”
Evaluating your church ministries is a very biblical practice. When Jesus wrote the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, he evaluated their works and encouraged self-awareness and repentance. Jesus wanted these churches to celebrate what was good but to also address what needed to improve. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” Matthew 7:17-20. During Jesus’ talk with his disciples in the upper room, Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). Jesus is clearly saying that the farmer regularly evaluates his vines to see if they are bearing fruit. As he evaluates, he takes action to cause them to be more productive. The farmer’s job is to evaluate and make adjustments.
Evaluation and correction is the job of everyone who is responsible for producing fruit. Again Dr. Hal Seed makes this observation, “Whether you’ve been intentional about it or not, your church has an evaluation system. Every service is evaluated by every attendee. They talk about it afterwards in the lobby. They share their impressions between friends. If it’s really good, others hear about it. If it’s really bad, even more ‘others’ hear about it. We can’t help ourselves; we are made in the image of a God who has evaluated everything he’s ever made. Just read Genesis 1 and you’ll see. At the end of every day, he graded his work.”
One of the greatest surprises I’ve had in the past few years has been the reluctance of some churches and even pastors to take a closer look and evaluate what’s going on with the ministries of their local church. I am so surprised because many of these same churches are either plateaued or in a state of decline. Many churches and even some pastors seem to be content to complain about the condition of the church and lack the motivation to look closer at why the church is not moving forward. I’m not sure why this fear or reluctance exists, but we cannot deny that church evaluation is a biblical principle. Evaluation is a critical first step toward becoming a healthier church. As many have stated over the years, “Great things seldom happen accidentally.”
There is a great church revitalization movement happening now nationwide. Church leaders across the board know that now is the time for churches to take a closer look. Activate is a BMA church revitalization effort that is available to you right now! Our goal at DiscipleGuide is to come alongside any church, regardless of size or age, to help you systematically evaluate the health of your church and provide the tools to becoming healthier.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at DiscipleGuide, 1-800-333-1442.