A lack of feedback can make even the most motivated staff member start to feel discouraged or disgruntled.
That’s just one reason why effective staff evaluations are crucial for church teams. You can work toward the most important mission in the world—as churches do—and still feel disconnected when you receive little to no feedback, encouragement, clarity, or direction.
One main aspect of your role as a leader is to help your team flourish. One way to do that is to develop your team through training. Completing staff evaluations for each team member helps you know where to focus your efforts and how to set everyone up for success based on their ministry goals and individual strengths.
But goals, objectives, and strengths aren’t the only areas that staff evaluations need to cover.
When most people think of doing evaluations for their church staff, we think of setting goals and reviewing accomplishments. The Quarterly Staff Review Form in our Resource Library covers these areas and more, so we understand the importance of reviewing past and future goals in staff evaluations.
The most effective staff evaluations go below the surface. They include discussions about alignment and uncover deeper insights that help your church’s leadership understand who your team members are and where they fit in. They help you pastor your team and monitor their progress in a customized way that makes the most sense for their role.
So, for your next round of church staff evaluations, consider covering these four key areas with your team.
#1 – Alignment with the mission
When you’re not the ones preaching on Sundays or leading connection groups, it can be challenging for many church staff members to see how their role pushes the church’s mission forward.
In staff evaluations, take the time to break down how each person’s role on the team helps the church with the greater purpose and mission. Discuss both their role and their personal alignment with the mission.
- Does this team member understand why their role is important?
- How would this team member rank themselves on embodying each of the church’s core values?
- In what ways would this team member like to further participate?
- How would this team member articulate their ministry department’s role in the church's purpose and mission in their own words?
#2 – Satisfaction with the role
Sometimes church leaders don’t find out that staff members are in the wrong role or aren’t working to their strengths until it’s too late. They find out when a significant ball is dropped on a project or they resign from their position.
If a staff member doesn’t identify with their role, they can start to feel jaded and you’ll notice morale getting lower. It might be time for them to transition off of the church staff or, if possible, into a role on staff that better suits their gifts and skillset.
It’s much easier to catch dissatisfaction before anything catastrophic happens if a discussion about alignment with their role is included in their evaluation. Even if they’re doing an “okay” job, they might dread coming to work every day because they’re in a role that doesn’t fit them. You may never know (or find out too late) if you don’t ask.
#3 – Personal and spiritual health
Imagine this scenario. You may have even seen it before.
A church staff member experiences a mental breakdown, intense spiritual struggles, or moral failings. At that point, leaders ask, “How could we have not seen this coming? What signs did we miss?” or they say, “But he or she was excelling at their job!”
When we only evaluate a staff member’s work performance and not their personal and spiritual health—especially in a church environment—we’ll miss signs of burnout, spiritual weakness, and health concerns.
Some of your team’s star employees will accidentally work themselves to the bone and end up in the hospital or neglect their families in the name of serving the church. Some will sacrifice their personal health and spiritual health, going through the motions of Christianity and only plugging into the church to do their job.
When you do staff evaluations, cover personal and spiritual health too. Make sure that your team knows that their relationship with God comes first and that they’re only expected to serve out of genuine love for and connection with the Church.
#4 – Custom performance metrics
We often ask every staff member the same questions to evaluate how they’re doing in their role. Or even worse, we don’t ask any questions and just hope everyone is doing alright in Jesus’ name.
Not only should work performance matter in church settings, but our evaluation of performance should include key performance indicators that are specific to each ministry area.
These performance indicators hold team members accountable and help them reach their goals. If goals and objectives are unique to each ministry in the church, performance metrics should be too.
Take the Next Step
Leading people is one of the most difficult tasks of pastoral leadership. The Senior Pastor’s Guide to Leading Staff will help you lead yourself so that you can better lead the people on your team.