Today, we finish our discussion on the third of the “7 E’s- Equipping Our Workers

We concluded last time by saying that one of the things that we are doing to equip our workers is by doing something that it is very common in the secular world, but very uncommon , as it relates to Pastors-by evaluating them.

We said that, at their best, evaluations help us equip our Pastors, by finding out what they do well, so that we can affirm them, and by pointing out the things that we do not do as well, so that we can address those things. In other words, evaluations help us in the equipping process by helping to reveal those areas where our workers need to be equipped.

We decided the best people to evaluate our workers would be to ask the people for whom they work-you, the members of the churches of the South Central Conference.

That may sound obvious, but there was some debate as to whether the church members were the best people to evaluate their Pastors-even all of the church members did not always agree. Some felt, for example, that the people who serve on the local church board were the best people to evaluate the Pastor, because they are the ones who work most closely with the Pastor.

While there is some truth to that, we felt in the end, that there was value in hearing what the “everyday member”-the ones who may not be in leadership, but who see the Pastor go about his/her duties on a week in, week out basis, had to say as well.

What kind of an evaluative tool should we use? We asked our Ministerial Director, Elder Benjamin Jones, Jr., to find a good evaluative tool. His research led us to Elder Monte Sahlin, who formerly served at the North American Division, and who has extensive experience in this area.

Elder Sahlin sent us a sample evaluation. It was different in that most Pastoral evaluations limit the person doing the evaluating to sharing only how they feel about the Pastor, e.g., “He/She is a great Pastor”, or, “He/She is a great preacher”, or, “He/She is not so great”, etc.

Elder Sahlin’s evaluations were different; the evaluator ( you) told us about you in addition to having you tell us about your Pastor.

But in addition to that kind of information being different, it was also helpful. It helped us to evaluate the Pastor in his/her context. In other words, knowing a little about you, helped us know more the Pastor.

For example, take a Pastor who is blessed to baptize a lot of people on a consistent  basis: The easy thing is to think that he/she is a  great preacher/evangelist-and maybe that is a true.

But an evaluative tool that tells about the church members as well may reveal that the Lord has blessed that Pastor to be in a spiritual church, where the members spend time with the Lord on their own and share with others what they discover in those moments with Him.  That they are faithful in returning an honest tithe and giving a liberal offering, so the Pastor has resources that other Pastors do not have.

One would expect that Pastor to be at least reasonably successful in evangelism. Meanwhile, another Pastor might be equally gifted for and committed to evangelism, but might not be in the same kind of situation. That is why it is helpful to know something about the church members as well-so the Pastor can be evaluated in his/her context.

Everybody did not like every question-in hindsight, neither did I.  We shall do this again in 2 years and we shall definitely do some things differently-some questions that were asked this time, we’ll take out, others, we’ll leave in-still others, we’ll add.

One of the questions that some people were challenged by was the one that asked about your income level.

On some level, I understand that; I am not going to have a lot of discussion about my income level, either.

On the other hand:

  1. A.     By North American Division (NAD ) policy, once a year, the Conference Executive reviews the salaries of everyone in the conference. So, everyone on the Executive Committee knows exactly how much I make-Mrs. Edmond, too-since she also works for the church.
  2. B.     Since no one’s name was on those evaluations, no one knew anyone’s income anyway. We just have a better idea of what the average income in a given church.
  3. C.      Companies ask about income levels in surveys all the time-for the same reason we asked-because the church is (on some level) a business-and  successful businesses  ( which the conference has to be, in order to do the Lord’s work) operate off data. Let me give you just one example:

 

I was at a meeting at the NAD recently, where they talked about the income level of church members. Well, it was discovered that the income level of a significant portion of the church was such that it would be difficult for a significant portion of the church to afford to send their children to church school.

If a church is trying to operate a church school, it is certainly helpful to know whether the average member can afford what the school is charging for tuition. In fact, not only is that information good to know, but that is information that the church has to know.  Except, our churches don’t know-other businesses know what your income level is- that Wal-Mart that just opened down the street did not chose your neighborhood by casting lots.

Anyway, we collected the evaluations, sent them off to be tabulated-it cost about $4,000. We then sent the results to the Pastors.  We shall follow up with individual conversations with each Pastor about what those surveys said and what we may need to do to better equip them to serve you.

We also sponsor a few of our Pastors to get Masters and doctoral degrees-not as many as we would like=but more than we used to do. We do a similar thing for our office staff; we have helped several of our Treasury staff get MBA’s and we require our secretarial staff to take one class a year, which we sponsor.

We meet with our intern Pastors 3 times a year-twice for seminars and once for an individual meeting with the President, Executive Secretary, Treasurer and the Ministerial Director. We go over their progress and point out areas of challenge.

Two things that we haven’t done, that we should have done: Provide a mentorship program for our interns and a continuing education curriculum for our Pastoral staff. We have been talking about it/working on it for a while-I just have not done it. And0- I should have.  I hope to change that next year.

We can no longer afford to have the yearly ( and sometimes, twice yearly) Pastor’s Meetings (we used to call them , “Worker’s Meetings”-but that name almost implies that the only workers that we have are Pastors) that we used to have, so we take advantage of the fact that we bring our Pastors together for camp meeting and we do daily seminars each morning.

And-that is a little about the 3rd of The 7 E’s-“Equipping Our Workers”. Next is the 4th E” Educating Our Children”.