Would you welcome a review of your ministry? I have been surprised at how many men would love to have a qualified person visit their church and review their ministry. Many young men have questions about pastoring and know they need help. College training is important but it doesn’t fully prepare you for everything you need to know about being a pastor. A peer review has not been a practice of our churches but perhaps now is the time it should be implemented.
What is a church review? A church review is similar to a peer revue of a college or a business. Business leaders pay large sums of money to hire outside consultants to come and examine their finances, their work force, their facilities and their protocols. Literally every person and protocol of the institution is appraised. Businesses believe that such a review will improve their operations and make them more profitable. If it was not effective they would quickly discontinue the practice.
Similarly, a thorough review of a ministry will help make it stronger and perhaps protect it from unforeseen problems. Every preacher wants his church to be more successful and utilizing a qualified and experienced man to examine every aspect of their ministry will help strengthen their work. Seasoned preachers hold an immense amount of wisdom that could be passed on to young men. The Bible teaches us the importance of respecting and learning from experienced men. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. — 2 Timothy 2:2. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. — 1 Peter 5:5.
Young men can have zeal and some knowledge. But experience takes time and those with experience hold the key to the greatest success. One of the certain paths to failure is when a young man “thinks he knows everything.” When I started a church I often didn’t even know what questions to ask. I did have a few men I would call when I wasn’t sure about a particular issue. However, there were things I should have been doing that I didn’t even realize I should be doing. Men who have recently stepped down from pastoring are an amazing untapped resource of help and knowledge. These seasoned men need to be connected with the younger men so that they can give godly counsel and advice to strengthen he church.
What does a thorough review of a ministry involve? It begins by filling out a detailed thirty page questionnaire. The first section involves the pastor’s personal and professional life. These questions include things like his spiritual life, his family life, and his finances including a retirement plan, his health and goals for the future. The second section involves the church buildings and grounds both inside and out. The lighting, parking, landscaping, signage, flooring and painting are a few of the obvious things visitors will notice and they should be in order. But in addition, the finances of the church, the budget and financial protocols will be reviewed. Every leader will be identified and reviewed. The programs of the church, along with its ministries, the church calendar, the data base and office forms will be reviewed. The mission program and outreach in general will be looked at. The special days, the ministries of the church and the goals of the church will all be examined. These things and much more can be evaluated and suggestions made on how to improve them. Solicited advice does not have to be taken however a wise man will hear instruction and be willing to change those things that strengthen the church.
I have completed three reviews with great success. I receive a filled out questionnaire a week before my coming and meet with the pastor for a few hours on the Saturday I arrive. On Sunday morning I just observe how the Sunday school and the church operate and then preach Sunday night challenging the church with a vision for the future. On Monday I meet with the pastor for a few hours discussing my findings and sharing suggestions for the pastor personally and the church as a whole. On Monday evening I meet with the key leaders of the church to share pastor approved suggestions for the future. In three years my desire is to spend full time trying to help young men become more successful in the ministry.
If you’re interested in this type of ministry help, please contact Pastor Townsley by calling Central Baptist Church. 860-621-6701.