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How to Evaluate a Multi-Faceted Worship Ministry

4. Groups under the oversight of the worship and arts AOM that serve these services and/or congregational gatherings

– Worship leaders

– Adult choir

– Children and youth choirs

– Children and youth hand bells

– Dance ministry

– Instrumentalists and vocalists

– Sound engineers

– Projectionists

– Altar guild (the people who set up for communion at our four weekly services, and special services throughout the year)

– Flower guild

– Lay Eucharistic Ministers, or LEMs (these are the people who help serve communion at all of our services)

– Acolytes

– Lectors (readers)

– Ushers

– Wedding coordinators

– Sermon audio editing/transcription

As you can see, there’s quite a lot going on. Truro’s services are at once Anglican, contemporary, traditional, liturgical, spontaneous and everything in-between. It’s fun, but also requires a large infrastructure to support. And thankfully, in addition to a great staff team, there is an army of volunteers who serve faithfully each weekend to keep the ship afloat.

So how do I evaluate all of these moving pieces without losing my mind? Here are some “metrics,” for lack of a better word.

Evaluating weekly and/or occasional services

– Level of engagement during the congregational singing. Are the people singing?

– Attendance numbers and/or trends

– Punctuality (starting on time, not running over, managing time well)

– Presence of, or lack of, technical, audio, musical and liturgical mistakes

– Managing costs of printed materials (We just completed a significant overhaul of our Sunday worship guides, and greatly the reduced the cost/waste of paper every weekend.)

– Protecting parishioners’ hearing (We are days away from installing a drum isolation booth, so we can get the drum level under control, and help us to have band/choir/organ/congregation coexist.)

– Ability to stay rooted in scripture and tradition, and do “traditional” well

– Ability to change and adapt, and do “contemporary” well

– A pursuit of a well-balanced, scriptural, Christ-centered, generations-spanning repertoire

– Meaningful up-front participation of children and youth

Evaluating our various volunteer groups

– Numbers of volunteers

– Age spread of volunteers

– Attrition rate

– Effectiveness of our training

– Recruiting enough new LEMs, ushers, readers, musicians, etc. each year to GROW the ministries (pursue ministry growth, not simply stabilization)

– Successfully maintaining and pastoring our choir core, while growing fairly quickly. This a huge priority

– Maintaining excellence in the acolyte ministry, and ensuring the smoothness of its leadership transitions from year to year

– Quickness and pastoral nature of our outreach to grieving families to plan funerals

– Organization (and streamlining) of our wedding planning process

– Ability to integrate those with young children at home

I never get to all of these things every week. Sometimes I go weeks, or months, without giving much attention to some of these questions, or groups. I can do that because I trust the volunteer leaders, coordinators and the rest of the worship and arts staff to do their jobs and let me know when there’s a problem. I don’t need to micromanage anyone, and even if I wanted to, I don’t have the time. I have to learn to let a lot of things go, and trust God, using the gifts of other people who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to different aspects of the worship and arts life at Truro.

My main focus from week to week is planning worship services that are Gospel-centered, congregationally accessible, well-led and executed, and faithful to Scripture and our Anglican tradition. Beyond that, I do a lot of planning, administration, thinking down the road a few weeks and months at a time, and making sure the different pieces are moving in the right direction. Things fall through the cracks, emergencies come up and I realize I’ve let a ball drop from time to time. But I extend grace to myself, and to my team, and that grace is reciprocated, and we keep plugging along.

And in the midst of all of the busyness and programming and planning and administration, I remember that I am simply a temporary steward of this ministry. Some day, I will hand it off to someone else. And they will lead the ministry their own way, before they hand it off to someone else. That’s all we are. We’re stewards. May God help us steward our ministries well, not simply as “maintainers” but as “leaders” and as faithful shepherds and servants of His flock.