Category Archives: Evaluation
Mr. Rzykruski is Disney character in Frankenweenie. As an elementary science teacher, he serves as a mentor and inspiration to the main character, Victor. And Mr. Rxykruski is correct: The truth about leadership is that you will encounter failures and make mistakes. Remember every leader goes through times of failure however not every leader successfully moves through it. But success or failure can’t happen without movement — with a forward moving target.
Mr. Rxykruski and I call it an experiment. Others call it a failure.
Some leaders allow “these failures” to stop them while others turn them into stepping stones.
I’ve been in ministry leadership for 28 years and during every season there were experiments that moved me forward and others that needed to be tweaked and retried.
- What are the marks of a good experiment?
- What about a bad experiment?
- Does a creative arts team really need to be experimenting? Is this wise?
- When should you experiment? Are there times you shouldn’t?
I”ll answer these questions on Wednesday.
Answer these questions yourself and let’s compare answers on Wednesday.
On Monday I briefly talked about two aspects of determining and guiding culture at your church.
- Know your target
- Talk about it always
If you didn’t get to read part one of my discussion starter. Then take a look at it. Now to the second part of Question #1 ::
I’m probably going to leave some of you a little short. In other words, I don’t think I can answer this question fully even though I’ve been a worship leader for 27 years. The answer is not an easy one. My worship leaders at Sun Valley are doing a fantastic job, but they would tell you that they struggle with a couple of issues tied to this subject.
In answering the culture part of this question I mentioned that you needed to know your target audience. And on the other side :: knowing your audience at Sun Valley is what causes us to question how we are doing. Let me explain.
We find that our audience on any given weekend :: pick one of the five services :: it doesn’t alter the discussion. In the service chosen there are believers and a very good number of non-believers. Maybe as much as one forth. And there is also a great number in the room of new believers.
Why is that important to the discussion? It is because choosing worship content for those three groups is difficult. The believer understands a bit more what worship really is. The young believer not so much. The unbeliever? Well, we want to choose songs that appeal to them — at least doesn’t turn them off or gives them a view us because of their misunderstanding (our misleading).
I know that there are critical issues of topic on both sides of this discussion. And you should talk seriously about both sides. You and your leadership need to try to figure it out. And when you do, keep talking, because my guess as it will continue to morph.
Bottom line for me on this critical issue and in answering Question #1 :: talk about it. Talk about it often. Challenge your answers. Change them when you need too. Fully follow the answers you trust.
We have a communication card attached to our Sermon Notes at Sun Valley. The card’s primary use is for new folks to communicate to us their visit. It is also used for people to request information. And it also is used to share prayer requests with the staff. (Which we prayer for every Tuesday during staff)
But we also get comments on the cards. Mostly good ones — telling what they really appreciated about the day. Sometimes a quick comment about how the day changed their lives in some small way.
It’s the other comments that I don’t want to hear. It’s the comments that tell us what we did wrong. I don’t want to hear many of the things that are written.
But I must! And I need to take each comment and chew on it for a while.
Bottom line: What can I learn from each comment?
So far it’s working very, very well. For three campuses.
For more campuses I see the immediate need for a Communications Director. Currently our Production Manager and I handle the communication duties. I don’t see that to be feasible with more campuses.
Because multi-campuses require a higher coordination, going beyond three campuses, I think, dictates the need for a director. Even with three campuses we find hiccups in communications. Nothing catastrophic, yet.
I also see the need for a higher level production manager positions for each campus. With three campuses it’s not too cumbersome to confirm that all of the creative collateral is loaded properly and working properly, but beyond three — I think there could be problems. I foresee mistakes or things being overlooked without a dedicated programming director.
My opinion is that this programming director wouldn’t be a full-time position, maybe not even a paid position at the onset, but a high level volunteer dedicated on being present for Wednesday run-thru rehearsal and the weekend services.
The technical maintenance is also on my radar. There will be a threshold that will be met and when that occurs, part-time or contract technical personnel will enter the discussion.
Again, this is a new model for us. What are you doing? I’d like to learn from your models?
Healthy creative environments will always produce excess.
There will also be times when your team will not only have a great idea, but
- you’ll act on it
- develop it
- and create it
Then change in the worship cue comes and the square peg doesn’t fit in the round hole anymore. It once was a brilliant idea, but now doesn’t fit the theme, or is slightly different in some aspect–rendering it “not useful.”
This is where the temptation comes. You’ll want to use it anyway, because you produced it.
Forcing a creative element is far worse than the pain of putting it away. Remember that we don’t create for the sake of creation. We create in order to enhance impact and clarify communication.
At Sun Valley, we find this to be true. All the time.
Sometimes we have to pass on lots of creative ideas for a sermon series. Other times just a few, but there are always good ideas that we can’t use–and often times, great ideas.
I find this to be frustrating to a creative and I feel their pain too. When you think of an really good creative idea and have to throw it in the trash–well, that’s one thing. When the idea is acted upon, created, change comes and then you can’t use it? Ouch. That hurts, but it happens.
This is where a nasty temptation begins to whisper in your ear. Be careful.
I’ll talk about this temptation on Wednesday.
We had the biggest Easter weekend of Sun Valley history. We had five services at the Gilbert campus. Three at the Tempe campus and two at Casa Grande. The video venues were received well.
We kicked off a new series — The Equation — on Easter weekend. Obviously, this made the April 7 & 8 weekend really important, but we also decided to make the following weekend as impactful. Almost like two Easter services in an row.
Easter weekend we focused on an important mission offering :: Orchard Africa. It’s one of our strategic missions partners in South Africa. We raised well over $100 thousand. www.orchardafrica.org
The message was an Easter celebration and topic, but it got those attending focused on how we complete our “life equation” by randomly adding and subtracting things until we become fulfilled. We teased them strongly to come back the following week to hear the “rest of the story.”
The following week was on forgiveness. And everyone is looking for forgiveness in their life in one way or another; the walls that un-forgiveness builds. We may even be paying the consequences of un-forgiveness. We brought that home really strong with the combination of an illusion in the message followed by a very reflective time of action around communion.
Love to hear how your Easter went? Let me know.
Yep. I said it. You thought it, but I said it. I know it sounds sacrilegious, but its true. OK. It’s not really dreaded. It’s a semantics thing. You choose your words. I’ll choose mine.
Bottom line: We know how important it is so we put the pressure on ourselves to make sure the message of the day is really, really, really, really clear. Why? There are magnitudes of folks that will come to church on Easter weekend and won’t be back until Christmas. They want to make the wife happy. Or momma happy. Or guilt grabs them. Something gets them to come.
Bingo. You know that. You also know that there may be one chance at communicating the most important message they will hear in their entire lives. It’s that important and you want to make sure you’ve done all you can.
Because it’s that important. Actually, life-changing.
Thanks, by the way. You’re appreciated.
Let’s talk Wednesday about how well it went. I’ve got some thoughts.
Much has been written about the process of evaluation. In fact, some people make a pretty good living off of evaluation and the piles of data that it can produce. Because ministry doesn’t move in slow motion, I don’t always have the time to dig into everything as deep as I may like so I’m always looking for clear, simple, and functional tools for effective evaluation. Below are four simple steps you can use to evaluate just about anything, including a weekend service, an event, a meeting or even a team member.
Step #1: Celebrate
Celebration is often overlooked when it comes to the evaluation process. Our tendency is to dive into what didn’t go right and what can be improved upon. However it’s just as important to know what went right, as it is to know what went wrong. After all, if you want it to go right again you’ve got to identify what went well, because what gets celebrated gets repeated.
Step #2: Correct
We don’t grow without correction. But correction can range anywhere on the scale from “minor improvements” to something was a “complete failure.” During this part of the process it’s important to be as candid as possible in measuring what happened against what you actually set out to accomplish. You can’t speak “ministerially” when participating in evaluation and get anywhere. Great evaluation is hard to come by without a culture of openness, safety, and candor.
Step #3: Clarify
What was confusing and needs clarification? Maybe you had an incredibly creative element planned into your weekend worship service. It was a great idea but it didn’t fit where you put it and it came off feeling awkward or worse, didn’t align with the message. Maybe communication was confusing in a meeting and it resulted in people walking out with competing agendas. What is the one message, action, or idea that you are trying to align everything to and clearly articulate?
Step #4: Create
This is the one all of the creatives were waiting for. At some point in the process you’ve got to ask yourself, “Was there anything missing?” Is there something that needs to be created and built to make whatever it is you’re evaluating more effective? This is where you’ve come full circle in the evaluative process. You’ve gotten on the solution side of things and you’re now working on implementing the next thing that’s going to be evaluated.
This guest post is from Paul Alexander. He is a pastor, speaker, strategist, and ministry consultant at Tony Morgan Live. He has a passion for helping churches make vision real. As a result much of what he writes about centers around helping churches and leaders both understand, and take steps to make their God breathed dreams become reality. You can follow Paul’s writings at Helping Churches Make Vision Real
- I love being creative
- I enjoy more leading creatives to be … more creative
- I long mostly to communicate clearly
- I live to communicate the truth of Jesus Christ
And as I have said out loud many times … what I have taught in many breakout sessions … what I have written in blogs is:
The pastor (the lead communicator) is the catalyst to the creative process and it is my job to make him the best he can be.
So when I heard Chad say to me, “The creative process you have implemented … you … and your team have made me a better communicator. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed and prepared to teach than I am now. Thank you.”
That was heaven to my ears. I couldn’t wait to tell my team.