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I think we’ve all heard the saying that celebration is a discipline. I deeply believe that to be true, and I would argue that evaluation falls into the discipline category as well.

If both are necessary disciplines on their own, they are arguably even more effective when paired together. However, we often have to reorient ourselves and our schedules to make sure both disciplines are recognized and practiced within our ministries.

With the fall semester coming to a close, now is the ideal moment to schedule time for not only celebration but evaluation. We have a full semester under our belts, and we are perfectly positioned to not only celebrate the good but recognize the blind spots and reposition ourselves for future growth.

To breathe necessary life, growth and energy into our ministries, we need to be committed to both of these disciplines and practice them together.

If our focus remains solely on evaluation with no celebration, we are tempted to elevate performance or results as king. But if we consistently celebrate and neglect evaluation, we overlook necessary opportunities for ourselves, our teams and our ministries to mature and grow into their full potential.

Where celebration keeps us encouraged, evaluation keeps us honest. And we desperately need both.

Although the way you choose to celebrate or evaluate your team may be unique to your ministry, as it should be, just remember they should be done consistently. The end of the semester is an ideal time to set aside ample time for both.

Below are a few practical ways our ministry tries to incorporate both celebration and evaluation into our rhythms in a more substantial way before the spring semester begins.

Practical Suggestions for Celebration:

  • Celebrate big and small wins any time your team gathers together.
  • Give your leaders time to specifically and publicly point out where one of their co-leaders is thriving and honoring Christ.
  • Remember that a win for any person on the team is a win for everyone.
  • Ask your leaders to share stories consistently. These stories remind us of our “why,” and teach us that God is always at work.
  • Celebrate not only through words, but where you can, through intentional actions, gifts and personalized recognition.
  • Throw an end-of-the-semester celebration for leaders that includes dinner, sharing stories and relaxed but intentional time of remembering what God had done.
  • Write personalized notes of thanks or share publicly why you appreciate each leader or volunteer and how you see God at work in them.
  • Everyone loves a party, so let’s honor our teams’ hard work and faithfulness through fun.
  • Remind leaders they mean more to you than what they do or accomplish. They bring value because of who they are and Christ’s character in them.

Practical Suggestions for Evaluation:

  • Remember any responsibility you delegate or entrust to your leaders can and should be consistently evaluated.
  • Inspect what you expect.
  • Have leaders or volunteers evaluate not only themselves but the area of ministry entrusted to them.
  • Inspect how leaders are doing both personally and spiritually. Have them evaluate how all aspects of their ministry are being executed.
  • Ask specific questions to get the most helpful answers.
  • Ask for specific feedback regarding the ministry as a whole: what is going well, what is missing, what is wrong, what is confusing?
  • Ask for specific feedback on your effectiveness as a leader. (Be ready to accept feedback with grace and humility).
  • Build evaluation time into your schedule now when everyone’s fall semester experience is fresh.
  • Don’t rush the evaluation process. Set aside plenty of time for you and your leaders to pray, seek God, ask for revelation and discuss what matters.
  • Give leaders space and time to not only discuss what is going well but what isn’t and why. Get to the heart of matters, but don’t overlook metrics either.
  • Utilize surveys, polls and various forms of feedback to evaluate your leaders and the ministry at large.
  • Don’t be afraid to share honest feedback with individuals where needed but be mindful of the space and manner in which you do it.

Remember friends, while celebration is a mark of God’s people, evaluation is the necessary precursor to growth. No one has more to rejoice in than the people of God, and most things have untapped potential.

Let’s lead the way in incorporating both encouragement and honesty wherever we can while allowing God to lead us and our people towards his provision and growth.