Feedback seems to come at the worst times.
Your best effort gets shot down, or your experiment is the subject of most of your emails the next day. I don’t know how I did in Hebrew Prophets at Fuller until I’ve finished the class. And I’m guessing most of the Hebrew Prophets still don’t really know how successful they were.
Most of the time, I have no clue how I’m doing if someone doesn’t tell me. Success isn’t determined by opinions but by results. Yet a lot of outcomes in ministry can only be seen by others. In the book Jim and Casper Go To Church, Jim Henderson (A pastor/writer/evangelist) takes Matt Casper (an atheist) to many different churches (megachurches, plants, and emerging) where they record initial thoughts and observations through qualitative research. It’s great insight into the culture of the “non-churched” and their feelings towards the church.
We know at least some of how we’re doing in ministry by asking others. Mark 8 offers an example: “ Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, Who do people say I am?They replied, Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.But what about you? he asked. Who do you say I am? Peter answered, You are the Messiah. Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him (27-30). Here are a few ideas for asking for feedback from those around you:
- Schedule your feedback: Expect a trusted opinion or perspective from someone who knows you well—after speaking, leading, or executing an event. Some of the veterans and rookies of your group or team can help you the most when offering constructive criticism.
- Standardize your feedback: When I was student teaching at UNCW, everyone was evaluated with the same resources and expectations by our observers. In similar fashion, set the standards and stick to them when assessing or asking for input. Here’s an example of a preaching evaluation from Calvin Seminary.
- Save your feedback: Looking back through the seasons you have will help you not only see your tendencies and traits, but how you’ve grown.
Maybe at least some of your feedback can come at the best times.
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