It’s the end of the year, and with it comes the dreaded performance review.
If you think performance reviews are just for Fortune 500 companies and for-profit firms, think again. Appraising our ministry is part and parcel of what Jesus has called us to.
So, here are four reasons why ministry people need performance reviews.
Reason #1: We got here because we discerned a call.
Your decision to pursue a vocation in ministry was an action point along a long and continuous road of discernment. Notice, your decision was not the endpoint. Because there isn’t an endpoint. We continue that process of discernment throughout our ministry–rediscerning the call, refining the direction of the ministry, maybe even changing ministries.
The call to discernment requires us that we assess who we are, where we are, what God is calling us to, and how we could/should respond. Sound familiar? Discernment is probably the best process of performance review we know, so use it.
Reason #2: Frequency counts — a lot!
Most performance review processes go awry because they happen once a year. Who likes hearing about their strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement all at once? It isn’t like ripping a bandage off. It’s just unhelpful.
Let’s take our clues from Jesus and St. Paul. Jesus showed us through his actions that we should be present with and pray to our Father regularly. St. Paul was even more specific, “Pray always.” So, let’s talk about progress on a more frequent basis, quarterly in a formal setting, more frequently in informal ways.
Reason #3: “Who do people say that I am?”
This was a pivotal question for Jesus and his disciples, and it should be for us too. We need to know who others perceive us to be. We need to know what it is that we communicate through our ministry to others before we can begin to analyze it and identify areas for improvement.
Reason #4: Give Ceasar his coin, but give God what is God’s.
There are always things that others are going to want of us–our co-workers, our bosses, our volunteers, our parishioners. And it’s important to know what those things are, but do they align with the goals that you have for your ministry?
Start your review process with your goals. They define the boundaries around what you are expected to accomplish, but also what gifts and talents you need to bring to the ministry. If you can do that, you will be more successful in your ministry and be able to pursue better relationships with all of the people who are tugging at your time.