Some worship leaders don’t consider evaluating their worship services until they receive complaints about something they are or aren’t doing or singing. Consequently, their responses are usually defensive rather than evaluative.
A preemptive strike is an action that is intentionally initiated to keep another inevitable action from occurring. It is preventive and proactive in order to deter a more unfavorable action or attack from transpiring.
Evaluation is already occurring in the halls and parking lots. So why wouldn’t we want to preempt those conversations with a process that encourages worship renewal instead of just as a response to worship conflict?
Evaluating worship from the inside is an internal process of enlisting individuals and groups from within your congregation to regularly evaluate present worship structures and practices.
Inside or internal evaluators already understand the culture, doctrines and personnel assets or liabilities that frame your worship preparation and implementation. So they have a vested interest in the process and results since it too is their church.
One area of caution, though, is since the evaluators have a more personal interest there is sometimes the danger of ideological evaluation. Those evaluations can be based on likes, dislikes and styles instead of biblical and theological content. But the benefits definitely outweigh the risk of encountering the occasional ideologue.
Implementing a process of internal evaluation requires a level of humility and sacrifice from leaders. Those leaders who willingly and selflessly share the responsibilities will no longer receive all of the credit for successes, but they also won’t receive all of the credit for failures. Consider some of the following preemptive evaluation suggestions:
INTERNAL EVALUATION SUGGESTIONS
- Develop an evaluative team for worship planning and follow-up evaluation. Include musicians, theologians, technicians, artists, etc.
- Video the platform personnel (including the pastor) as an evaluative tool for the team. Look for: genuineness, preparedness, idiosyncrasies, platform presence, vocal clarity, language clarity, etc.
- Video the congregation before, during and after worship services to evaluate how or if they are participating.
- Enlist multi-generational and multi-ethnic congregants to respond to questions regarding the relevance of worship to their generation or culture.
- Ask evaluation team members to sit in various places during worship services to consider volume, balance, pace, flow, content, congregational participation, etc.
- Enlist non-musicians to respond to musical questions.
- Ask an educator to evaluate language and grammar usage of platform leaders.
- Encourage non-technical congregants to respond to projection, sound, lighting and other technical/logistical questions.
- Implement platform personnel peer-to-peer evaluations.
- Keep it simple. Don’t attempt to evaluate too much at a time.
- Design evaluations to minimize the focus on style and personal preferences. Avoid “I like” or “I don’t like” questions.
- Ensure evaluations aren’t used to manipulate or provide justification for biases.
- Evaluate strengths as well as weaknesses.
This article originally appeared here.