As a pastor, I hated the idea of evaluation. It sounded too much like a way to open myself up to needless criticism. After all, who really wants to invite an outsider to tell them what they are doing wrong, add more “to do’s” to their list or make them feel guilty for what they are not doing? Pastoring is hard enough already. Why invite more frustration?
But what if I were to tell you that evaluation can be a positive experience? Don’t misunderstand. “Positive” does not always translate into “easy.” However, evaluation can be positive in the sense that it can clarify issues, reveal potential and renew hope.
If you were to overhear a discussion from biblical church evaluation, you might here phrases such as:
- “This church works hard and endures a lot to keep going, but in the process has lost their passion for people.”
- “This church has stayed true to doctrinal teaching, yet they are allowing their people to trip over a stumbling block.”
- “This church looks busy on the outside, but they are dying on the inside.”
- “This church is apathetic and needs to decide if they are going to be serious about ministry or not.”
You may be wondering, “Is that kind of evaluation biblical?”
As a matter of fact, yes, every one of those evaluation statements is biblical. How can I be so sure? Because they are pulled directly from Revelation 2 and 3 where Christ evaluates the seven churches. Here’s how those statements read in Scripture:
- “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. … But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”
- “You hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith. … But I have a few things against you: You have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam.”
- “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”
- “You are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!”