Evaluation: Measuring what you can’t see

Effective evaluation can be very hard to do, especially when it’s your own ministry. We’re too bought in and invested that bad news is hard to take or it just takes more emotional effort to go digging for the ugly stuff. This is where it might be helpful to bring in people from the outside to poke around and ask questions that you haven’t thought to ask yet. Sometimes though, I think we get in trouble because we’re only evaluating the things we can see. What you can’t see tells an entirely different story.

This is where leader’s bias comes in. On any particular weekend, hundreds of elementary kids come to our programs and they love it. We get emails and comments in the courtyard about how much the kids love coming to church. We do baptism interviews and these kids talk about why they love coming to church and it’s easy to get a slanted view of performance. We change our tactic and begin asking the kids who already love our program what it is that we could do better to make them love it more. Although this is never a bad idea, we’re missing the point entirely. We’re only evaluating what we can see.

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