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John Ortberg wrote an article for Leadership Journal that was pretty insightful. He addressed the topic of “evaluation.” It is clear that there are many people who do not evaluate themselves and their ministry. Ortberg writes,
If I’m not good at something, it’s best to find it out clearly and early, grieve my inadequacy, and move on to more fertile possibilities. How many congregations – and pastors – and pastor’s spouses – live in misery year after year because someone won’t face the truth about where their gifts do and do not lie. How many of us don’t grow because we are afraid of honest feedback. Truth is always our friend.”
I think one of the worst things that can happen in ministry is when we don’t have people who love us enough to tell us the truth. There are people who are in the ministry, serving in various roles that might not be the best fit for them. But how will we know without evaluation? I think this is another reason why we need to have spiritual mentors in our lives who will be able to speak the honest truth with us, even at the expense of hearing some painful things that might hurt us. The mentors also need to have the guts to tell us things that we might not want to hear.
But Ortberg suggests the possibly of over evaluation. He believes we sometimes evaluate things to death because we are under the “tyranny of outcomes.” We always want to know that we are successful and that we are doing well. When you look at some of the examples in the Bible and “evaluated” them, we would probably label them as failures.
Hmm… how do you draw a balance?
Evaluation is definitely needed but doing it in such a way that our focus is not always on the “results” might be the tightrope that we will always have to walk on. Evaluating with our focus on Jesus would be a good article to write in the future.
You can read up on the article here.