Whether it is a performance evaluation at work or a test at school, the idea of being evaluated in our culture isn’t something we like to consider.
That’s because evaluation leads to change.
As humans, we tend to resist change. So, it would make sense that we would naturally resist evaluations.
Besides, if we want to be honest, a deep part of us (especially us Artists) doesn’t want others telling us how we should change or do things differently.
We like to be our own boss, and opening ourselves up to being evaluated gives others influence. However, the truth is that evaluation is needed in order to improve.
My experience in evaluation is centered on the church services I program. We evaluate our services as a team at the beginning of our weekly programming meeting. This gives us time every week to talk about what went well, what didn’t go well, and what we need to do to get better.
This kind of evaluation gives us perspective and the ability to grow on a weekly basis.
However, for this kind of evaluation to work, you need a few things:
Complete Honesty. You need everyone on the team to be honest, and I mean brutally honest. Each member should be willing to give their gut level input on an element, message, song, etc. Nothing is off limits or is given a pass, including the message. Which leads to the next thing you need . . .
Healthy Culture. Everyone in the group should have permission to speak freely, and this needs to come from the highest level leader at the table. Whether thats the senior/lead pastor, the creative arts director, whoever is the highest authority figure in the meeting needs to make it clear that each person has the freedom to speak their mind, without fear of being shot down or marginalized for their thoughts.
In this kind of environment, evaluation can be a helpful and effective tool for growth for your services. I’m grateful to have a culture at my church where we’re evaluating everything CONSTANTLY.
Seriously, we meet right before services and even between services to make adjustments. No one take the critiques personally, and we all understand we’re all there to make our services more effective in humbly pointing everyone to absolute.
In my experience I have learned two facts about evaluation and Creative/Programming Teams.
Every Creative Team SHOULD continually evaluate their services.
Every Creative Team CAN effectively evaluate their services.
Every team is highly capable of developing their own evaluation method for evaluating their services. Your evaluation should be tailored to your church body and what you want to happen in your services. I think the reason some teams don’t evaluate their services is because they don’t see the importance of it.
In general, I see three reasons why every team should evaluate their services.
1. Evaluation narrows your focus. When you evaluate anything, you begin to see what is most important. For instance, at Journey, one of our focuses is creating services that our church family would want to invite their friends and family to. We use this focus to help us evaluate our services.
2. Evaluation helps to clarify your “win”. If you don’t know what it looks like to win the game, how can you expect to do it? Evaluation has helped us to clarify what a winning Sunday morning looks like.
3. Evaluation improves your team’s ability to achieve a “win”. When you know what it looks like to win, you can equip and train your team to shoot for the win every time. If you know that a win for your service is to have your worship leaders lead a certain way, then you can train them towards that aim, rather than lead without direction.
Without evaluation, you won’t know how you’re doing. If you don’t check how you’re doing on a regular basis, you’re begging to be ineffective. This really just breaks down into being a stewardship issue. Our message is far too important to steward poorly.