Performance reviews for pastors

02 Feb

In 1 Timothy 4:6-16, the apostle Paul tells his protege Timothy that he is to exhibit growth in four key areas of life and ministry. He is to grow in his Content, or his knowledge of the Bible and theology (6-10); his Character (11-12); his Competence, or ministry skills (13); and his Call, or his understanding of his spiritual gifts and the task God has given him (14). In verse 15, Paul states, “Practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress.” (ESV)

As Paul indicates, a minister’s growth should be tangible, measurable, and visible. As uncomfortable and awkward as it may be at times, we need to ask and allow people to comment on those four areas of our lives.

At my church, United Evangelical Free Church in Seattle, WA, we conduct staff performance reviews each year in February. For the past few years, I have used the “Program staff evaluation form” to evaluate both myself and the pastoral staff. The tool was developed by my friend Tim Jack at Crossroads Bible Church. It is a self-evaluation tool where the individual comments on their own growth and then meets with their supervisor to go over the results.

I adapted the form to our setting and divided the evaluation into four sections. Section one deals with activities which are expected of all staff members.  Section two is tailored to the individual’s job description. (For illustrative purposes, I included mine as Senior Pastor.) Section three refers to the purpose and goals of the church and to what degree each staff member is helping the church reach that purpose and goals. (To illustrate, I included the purpose and goals of my church.) Section four reviews the one-year and five-year goals set by the individual staff member at their last review.

This year, I am taking my own evaluation a step further. Far too often, my self-evaluation is either too critical or too lenient. To gain a more accurate assessment of where I am in the development of my character and skills, I am asking the leaders of the church to perform a broader and deeper review. I am sending a “Constructive Performance Review” to all those who hold a leadership office in the church and asking them to participate in this process. This form is adapted from one used by Pastor Norm Schwab at the Yacolt Evangelical Free Church in Yacolt, WA. (Note: In June 2009, Norm became the Senior Pastor at Northview Bible Church in Spokane, WA.) The results will be tabulated by our office manager and then the chairman of the elders will go over the results with me.

The constructive review is divided into three parts. Part one relates to ministry functions. Part two assesses character development. Part three contains four open-ended questions.


Posted by on February 2, 2009 in Church, Personal growth, Scripture


6 responses to “Performance reviews for pastors

  1. Dan Hollingsworth

    February 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Hey Mark. Thanks for the help. I took on the role of Interim Senior Pastor at our church in PA, Lancaster Evangelical Free!!Hopefully they’ll have someone full-time by summer. I was looking for resources for the staff and ran into your blog — my first visit. Trust your trip to Russia was good. Thanks for your updates. Been praying for your health.

    • wheelsms

      February 22, 2011 at 12:59 am

      Thanks, Dan. Hope it helps you in this new role.

  2. Marshall Mabry

    May 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    How can you measure growth in the eternal and spiritual utilizing temporal tools? Can you measure the volume of water with a ruler?

    Pastors are “Called” not hired. They should know the measure of their resolve. They know Who they answer too. Lead with God’s blessing and in freedom. Trust is diminished by man’s need to restrict, compare, and measure. “A worker is worth his wages.”

    Blessings in Christ!

    • wheelsms

      May 2, 2011 at 8:31 pm

      While there is truth in what you say, Scripture also says that teachers are held accountable for what they teach (James 3:1) and elders are held accountable for the people entrusted to their care (Hebrews 13:7). In 1 Timothy 4:4-16, Paul instructed Timothy to grow in his knowledge (6-10), his character (11-12), his ministry skills (13), and his sense of call and gifting (14). His progress in these areas is to be evident to those around him (15). In so doing, he will become more effective in his ministry (16). While no evaluation tool is perfect, it is something that we should be doing.

    • Rt. Rev. David Njovu

      September 10, 2012 at 6:41 am

      I agree with you hundred percent but I have had clergymen who have taken me to labour office on matters of human resource. This has forced me to look for tools that can be used in assessing a clergman performance so that the church can protect itself from unnecessary litigations

      • Tawanda

        April 29, 2015 at 9:45 pm

        Agree with you the law is made for the worst case.1 Timothy 1:10.It is increasingly evident that more people are coming into ministry with a focus on the benefits and privileges, we therefore need good control systems. If someone is not going to transgress they should not be afraid of the rule of law. Romans 13:4


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