March 16, 2015

How to Make Performance Reviews Work For Your Church Staff


Fresh Content Each Week

New content to help you lead an unstuck church delivered to your inbox on Wednesday mornings.

We know your inbox is probably full.

We want to make it easier for you to find the right content-the articles, podcast episodes and resources most relevant to where you are in your leadership.

  • Protected: Order – August 7, 2021 @ 01:25 AM

    Podcast Episodes

  • Articles & Blog Posts

  • Protected: Order – August 7, 2021 @ 09:59 AM

    Quarterly Unstuck Church Report

Our most recent research revealed that church growth happens when every team member has these two things in place:

  • clear job responsibilities
  • clear, measurable goals.

In the churches we surveyed, the ones that provided this clarity were growing 40% faster that provided this clarity were growing 40% faster than those who weren’t.

One of the best ways to accomplish this clarity is to establish and execute a performance review process. Don’t get turned off by the word “performance” in the same sentence as the word “church.” This is about establishing a system to empower your team with clarity and open dialogue. It’s a way to make YOU a better leader, more accountable to your team, as much as it is about making them more accountable for their work. This process should include both documented goals and regular conversations between each staff member and their leader.

Here are some tips to make this work for your church:

1) Determine who on your staff will be accountable for owning the performance process.

It could be an executive or administrative pastor or someone who typically oversees the human resources responsibilities.

2) Establish a process and put dates on the calendar.

Keep the process simple – establish an annual timeline that includes check-points that work for your entire organization. The beginning of the calendar year is a great time (but March isn’t too late!) to have each employee consider what wins will look like for their ministry for the coming year. A mid-year check-in and year-end review ensure accountability for following up on performance. A paper form could be e-mailed between employee/manager (or kept on Google drives and shared). Another option would be to consider the free online resource where you can set, track, and share goals.

3) Set goals.

Establishing goals should be a two-way conversation with each employee and the person responsible for managing and developing the individual. Ensure each goal contributes to the overall mission and vision of the church so that the employee can see clearly how they help move the organization forward. Most goals should align with the specific gifting of the team member and be things that he or she feels is personally important. Consider what should be accomplished and how the goal should be met. In many circumstances, goals should be around equipping other leaders (staff or volunteer) and executing ministry through others. Goals should be clear, leading the team member to feel equipped and empowered to exceed the accomplishments.

Make sure each goal is SMART:

  • Specific (what the expectation is and how it is to be achieved)
    Measurable (what defines a win)
    Achievable (should provide opportunity to stretch and grow while being resourced and supported)
    Results-based (numbers, values)
    Time bound (set deadline)

4) Finally, revisit progress throughout the year.

Your church’s goals or strategies may change throughout the year. Ensure accountability and what a win “looks like” is always clear. If ministry begins to creep in scope, reevaluate what is being done.

Ensuring each employee knows what a win looks like and how they are progressing against those wins will help your staff and your church grow and develop to reach their full potential.

Is it time to restructure?

One of the most common lids to growth in a church is staff structure.

You’re perfectly structured to get the results you’re getting today. If you don’t like the results you’re getting, it might be time for a change.

church staffing and structure icon

Sarah Bouma -

Sarah is a ministry consultant at The Unstuck Group. For more than 12 years, Sarah has focused on leadership training, human resources and organization effectiveness. She has had a breadth of experience with positions at Granger Community Church, the University of Minnesota and the Kellogg Company. She also has experience in local church leadership including staff performance and structure and capital campaigns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.