They make me nervous, new ministers, they are somewhat intimidating. I feel this way because I want them to love student ministry like I do. It’s kind of like playing a song for someone you appreciate, you hope they give you input, but at the same don’t crush you. In the end I want them to be honest, I want them to give me truth, the brutal facts about what I’m doing right and wrong.
A practice we’ve started doing in our church is evaluating new ministers 3-6 months after they’ve started serving. In these meetings we aren’t evaluating their performance we want them to evaluate us. In reality this is something we should do with all of our ministers; however, evaluating yourself or your ministry can get chaotic and personal. So how do we request the brutal facts about a person or a program? Even if that person is you?
- Remove Your Guard: If you want someone to give you the truth don’t make excuses for yourself. Do two things: 1. Ask Questions and 2. Listen Don’t react right away, take it in, ponder it and pray about it. The truth might be accurate, it might not, but if you enter the conversation with your dukes up it’ll turn them away.
- Remove Your Agenda: One of the best things we can do in an evaluation meeting is sit back and break out the popcorn. What does that mean? Let your team debate it and discuss the situation and don’t let your opinions influence the crowd. When others chime without your coercion you can really hear some raw truth. Your role should be to moderate, not move it to your agenda.
- Remove Blame: If something flops resist blaming a person before you look at the systems. Your outcomes in ministry are usually a result of your systems, not necessarily a person (or group of people). When we blame people first it’s because of a sense of insecurity, if we can look at a system and see the hole, it’s us taking responsibility. When we can take responsibility, the approach will be healthier.
- Remove Closed Doors: Most times it’s easier to dish it out than to take it. No one wants to take a verbal beating, but that isn’t an excuse to hide from criticism and feedback. In fact create an open door policy where if a minister has a thought, idea, complaint, critique or grievance that they can always come to you. When your door is open it means that your ministers trust that you are open to them.
We need feedback. We need feedback from those who are new, from those outside of our ministry and from those who are seasoned. When we create a learning atmosphere on how we can be better it shows humility worth following. In the end how you go about your system is going to be up to you; however, you need to make sure you are surrounding yourself with the right people and are open to face the obstacles standing in your way.
What permission do you grant to others to show you the brutal facts?