Mr. Oboh raised many questions at the last Church-in-Conference. A few of the questions he raised included: What was the performance of our members as regards the payment of tithes two years ago when compared with this year? How many members attended the Sunday School, Bible year, and how many do we have attending this year? How many members attended the Sunday School, Bible Study and the English worship service every week last year, and how many do we have and were baptised two years ago, and how many did last year? How many people joined the membership of the church and were baptised two years ago and how many did last year?

Mr. Oboh’s questions were not satisfactorily answered because of a lack of accurate records and figures. This incident points out the necessity of the evaluation of the church’s ministry activities and programmes. What is your opinion about the evaluation of the church’s ministry activities and programmes? Why do you think evaluation of the church’s ministry activities and programmes is necessary?

Thanks for your responses. Oftentimes, we set out to achieve certain goals and objectives within a specific period. The church and other organisations are also not left out of such in the pursuit of their goals and missions. Time remains a major factor in the assessment of the effectiveness and success of any human endeavour. The set standards, goals and missions of an organisation are the other factors needed to assess the effectiveness of an organisation and make necessary decisions. A church ministry and effective with one generation may not be with the next. Today, be ready to learn from the invited administrator, be equipped and amend our ways where necessary.

Administrator: Part of good administration and management of God’s resources is to evaluate the ministry activities and programmes of the church. This, on the part of the leadership of the church, involves the ability to plan, organise, delegate, and oversee the goals of the church. And on the part of the followership, it is essential for the improvement, relevance and effectiveness of the services. Four things will be explained briefly and quickly:

What Is Evaluation?

Evaluation is simply a way or a tool of determining the merit, operations and services. It is not necessarily about proving the success or failure of a leader or a programme as many may think.  Rather, it is used to collect information that can help in decision-making.

 The Need for Evaluation

  • Evaluation is needed to assess the relevance and effectiveness of a programme in the light of set objectives and goals.
  • Evaluation is needed to learn from the past to improve the development of future activities and programmes.
  • Evaluation is needed by an organisation to know how well that organisation has complied with its mandate i.e. the set missions and goals.
  • Evaluation is needed to educate the people within an organisation, to help them think deeply about what is done about the set goals; and to decide whether a programme is working, improving and would be further needed.
  • Evaluation is needed to understand the value of a programme.

The Drivers of Evaluation

Three important things are essential when one is about to do the evaluation. They are as follows:

Goals: Ministry activities and programmes of operations must be evaluated in the light of the predetermined goals or missions of the church or organisation. The driver in this evaluation is the ‘body’ of the goal.

Process: The methods, styles and approaches of performance in ministry activities and programmes of operations must be evaluated to ensure their relevance to the challenges of change and time. The driver in this evaluation is the process of delivery or performance.

Outcomes: The testimonies of the impacts and blessings of an activity and programme are important in the exercise of evaluation. The set goals may sound brilliant and promising; the process of delivery of programmes may be wonderful, but the testimonies of the impacts and blessings evident in the people are proof of the effectiveness and success of the set goals or missions. The driver in this evaluation is the outcomes i.e. how the programmes have impacted and blessed people.

The Tools for Evaluation

Evaluation is used to measure what we do in the light of our set goals or missions. It should be done both at the initial and completed stages of our activities or programmes, which management experts call “formative and summative stages of actions. However, the church does not necessarily have to engage or involve professional groups or an evaluation firm or consultant whose services would be paid for before the evaluation could be done with results. What is required is the church’s leadership ability and determination to plan, organise, delegate, oversee and evaluate; the cooperation and sincerity of the followership.

Available tools for a church’s evaluation exercise would include the following:

Reports: Those who are put in charge of ministry areas and programmes of operations should be asked to present reports of their ministry activities, whether on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis to measure effectiveness. However, those saddled with such tasks in the church should be faithful and cooperate in writing good reports; and those in leadership or administrative positions should make good use of writing and present the reports.

Survey, sampling, or opinion polls: The administrative leadership of the church should prepare a form to sample the opinions of people both within and outside the church about the process, impacts and outcome of ministry activities and programmes of the church. This requires the cooperation and sincerity of church members.

Questionnaire: This tool looks like a survey, sampling, or opinion pool in content, but the purpose and findings of a questionnaire would differ. Specific questions with specific answers are raised in a questionnaire, not only to seek the opinions of people.

Interviews: Interviews allow meeting people face-to-face, whether to sense their feelings, sample their opinions, or gather their comments, observations and suggestions on ministry activities and programmes of operations employed by the church.

The church administrative leadership should avoid the temptation of running away from evaluation exercises because of the feeling of insecurity.

Communication

Without effective communication, a leader is not an effective leader. A church moves successfully and increases numerically, spiritually and financially. It is certain that a church that is not well-informed experiences deformation. It would be difficult to accomplish her given mission. It is only clear, concise communication between leadership and followership that can result in achievements. Leaders must have the ability to communicate to express their points, lead the church and bring members together. The more effectively you communicate the message, the more you will be understood.

Not communicating the message effectively can result in a breakdown of communication and possibly misrepresentation of the church or your intentions. Communicating with others is important, but truly listening to them adds a better dimension to leadership. The result is communication that flows in both directions. When communication flows openly, followers feel empowered to express their thoughts and ideas with leadership.

This opens doors for successful accomplishments of the church and breaks down barriers that develop when communication is damaged. A leader’s ability to convey the message, listen to those he or she represents and move the church forward by engaging others stems from the ability to be a good communicator. Good communication brings about a trusting environment where confidence and cooperation grow.

Conclusion

Evaluation, as it has been mentioned, is not necessarily about proving to measure what we do with our set goals or missions, without which we may not be good stewards of God’s resources. A leader must be able to communicate effectively. Effective leadership requires effective communication. The good news is that anyone can become a good leader as long as he/she is willing to communicate effectively.