Sunday is over.
You did your best.
You planned and prepared all week.
And now the moment is gone. The day is done.
The results are what they are. You can’t change them; you can only learn from them.
The only way to learn from your results is by evaluating what happened.
Sunday comes every 7 days.
Wednesday night happens every week.
You put a ton of effort into making your programs the best that they can be. And then the day comes. Your group meets. You execute the plan as well as you can. Students go home. It’s over. After it happens, you can’t go back and change it. You can only go over the game film and evaluate.
The purpose of evaluation isn’t to make anyone feel bad; it’s to help everyone get better.
It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of doing the same things over and over. Anyone can get stuck in a rut. It takes intentional, directed effort to stay focused on continuous improvement and make the necessary adjustments.
These 4 evaluation questions can help you break out of familiar patterns, and do ministry better:
1. What went right?
You need to celebrate all of the things that worked well. The game that worked perfectly. The bottom line of your message that landed with just the right sense of importance and empowerment. The volunteers who casually hung out with students after the service was over. You can’t repeat the things that went right if you don’t take a few minutes to think about why they worked so well.
2. What went wrong?
You need to fix the things that didn’t work. These are usually obvious to everyone who was in the room. If the band wasn’t in place when the countdown timer hit zero, then write it down. If the same student has been picked to play in the upfront game for the last 3 weeks, you need to figure out how to keep that from happening again. Maybe the person in charge of your slides didn’t follow your talk very well and you had to keep saying, “Go to the next one.” When you identify what went wrong, you can make it better for next week.
3. What was missing?
You need to figure out what wasn’t happening that should’ve been happening. These things aren’t usually obvious. Unlike things that went wrong, things that are missing simply weren’t there to notice in the first place. But they should’ve been. Maybe students were looking bored before the program started. Is there anything you can add for pre-service engagement? Maybe you could create a cafe and sell some snacks and drinks to help them feel more comfortable. Maybe you were only supposed to speak for 20 minutes, but you got carried away and went on for 32 minutes. You need to add a clock to the back wall. Or you could have someone in the back wave their hand when you have 5 minutes left. When you add things that were missing, you fill in the gaps and create a more enjoyable, attractive experience for your students.
4. What was confusing?
You want every step to be obvious to everyone. Especially if someone is there for the first time, you want to make sure you’ve eliminated as much confusion as possible. Confused people aren’t inclined to come back. Start in the parking lot and look for directional signs. Is it clear where you want people to enter the building? After they’re in the building, is it clear where you want them to go? If you give someone a form to fill out, is it clear what you want them to do with it when they’re done? Think about what’s confusing and aim to bring clarity to those things next time.
These 4 questions will help you get better every single week.
All you have to do is ask them, answer them honestly, and work to make things better.
Do you have an evaluation question that I’ve left out?
Share it in the comments!
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