Juggling Sheep
Welcome to Juggling Sheep, Jay Perry's blog about time management and personal productivity for pastors. Learn to balance work, life, family, and personal spirituality.

Share your best practices, tips and tricks, processes, sermon planning ideas, and resources. Feel free to email me: jaylperry[at]gmail[dot]com.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Evaluation is at the very foundation of effectiveness. You don't really know which direction to lead your church (and by extension, what to do today) unless you have taken some time to evaluate the situation. If you aren't evaluating, how do you know what to prioritize?

Here is presented a cyclical model for planning (in any field at any time, micro or macro):
  1. Evaluate the current situation and needs
  2. Plan how to address the situation and needs
  3. Implement plan
  4. Evaluate effectiveness of implemented plan
  5. Repeat
As you can see, evaluation is key to two of the steps. You must evaluate the overall situation and figure out how to meet it. And then you must evaluate how effectively your implemented plans met the situation (you might call this an effectiveness review).

One of the best tools I have ever found for ongoing church evaluation (and thus, strategic planning) is the Natural Church Development (NCD) survey.

This survey is completed by 30 church members and analyzes the local church in 8 key areas:
  1. Empowering Leadership
  2. Inspiring Worship
  3. Functional Structures
  4. Holistic Small Groups
  5. Gift-oriented Ministry
  6. Need-oriented Evangelism
  7. Passionate Spirituality
  8. Loving Relationships
Our church is on its third NCD survey cycle over the last 5 years. The first time we did the survey, we found that our minimum factor (our biggest need area) was Holistic Small Groups. So we addressed that by starting a small groups ministry in our church. The next time we took the survey, all of our scores had gone up, because our new small groups ministry had positively impacted every aspect of the church.

We were so excited by our positive results (every factor over 60!) that we didn't address the new minimum factor (Loving Relationships). And on our third survey, we found that Loving Relationships have deteriorated even further. So that's the area that our church really needs to work on now to become healthy and growing again.

I'm really proud of my board. They are doing a great job of strategic planning and really working in a prayerful way to address this minimum factor.

If you don't use some kind of formal evaluation tool, you really should start. Make it a tool that you can use over and over again so you can track your progress and see how effective your implementation was...