Appraising church leadership is just as important as appraising church employees and accountability for achieving objectives is what drives performance.
Church leadership should be evaluated the same way employees are and given measurable targets to achieve.
Goals are only as effective as the person who is responsible for achieving them and completing church goals should be a condition of employment and leadership rank. Church leaders (whether paid or not) need to be held accountable for achieving goals in order to impact mission fulfillment.
3 Levels of Leaders That Should Be Appraised
1. Board Self Evaluations
A church is only as successful as the people responsible for driving its mission. This makes it critical to ensure the right people are placed in board positions. This governing church board has an overarching responsibility for every aspect of the church and board members need to be evaluated on their ability to help the organization achieve its mission. Assessing church boards entails measuring church performance against predetermined board member effectiveness.
This annual appraisal ensures that the board fulfills its fiduciary responsibilities. ECFA has some great sample board evaluation forms to get you started.
If your church is not yet ECFA accreditation, you might want to consider it to demonstrate church financial accountability.
2. Church Management Team
The church board should direct the strategy for the church to achieve its mission however it is the church management team that is responsible for getting it done.
Church strategy is handed down to church leaders and management team to develop and achieve goals that support strategy.
This group of employees should be evaluated by the church board and measured against completion of their goals.
Church goals should be written in the SMART goal format to ensure there are measures for success.
Board members may need to be trained on delivering effective performance appraisals so it is important to provide them with the necessary tools and structured process to make it as easy as possible.
These church leaders should have a clear job description that includes performance goals that is used for their assessment.
These documents should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis to ensure they reflect current strategic initiatives.
3. Church Volunteer Leaders
The next level of evaluations should be done on church volunteer leadership.
Those volunteers that oversee large groups of people should be held accountable for achieving results through positive volunteer interactions.
Volunteer leaders are not paid employees so the approach should be a little softer but the end result should be the same.
A poorly performing volunteer leader can have a negative impact on the volunteer experience so it is important to identify this type of issue and change leadership quickly. For example, if there is a volunteer leader that consistently drops the ball on managing volunteers it should be identified and they should be asked to step down.
Volunteer leaders should also have detailed position descriptions so they understand their job responsibilities and what the church expects of them.
Church leader evaluations should be done through a structure performance management process. This includes developing annual goals that are driven down to the employee level. Objectivity is the key to success with this and performance biases should not be allowed to impact assessment results.
Other things to consider.
- Consistency breeds credibility so make sure you apply appraisals consistently and fairly across all leadership groups.
- Church politics should not be allowed to play a part in objective evaluations.
- A structured process helps to ensure predictable consistency with administering appraisals.
- Developmental opportunities should be identified through the process to ensure employees, as well as volunteers, are given ample growth opportunities.
Does your church evaluate your leadership?
Article originally posted October 2012, updated October 2015.