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I realize that it's summer and that an article about evaluation may have been more helpful in the spring, but better late than never, right?

Churches who are serious about their ministry effectiveness value evaluation and honest criticism. And I believe through my own experience, that churches who have regular evaluation of staff and ministries are far more effective than those churches that don't evaluate. So if you want your small groups to be more effective as well as their leaders, evaluation is a must.

There are different ways you can evaluate your groups. I like to use a two step process. The first step is to have the groups evaluate themselves at both a communal level and an individual level ascertaining the effectiveness of their group interaction and involvement on their discipleship growth. The second step is to gather with the leaders collectively and one-to-one to discuss responses to their leadership, how they would evaluate their group and their own strengths and weaknesses as a leader.

The group evaluation is quite simple and we ask people to fill out the form and turn it in to their leader. We ask them not discuss it together until after everyone has filled it out and the leader(s) have had time to look at them -- Most groups have a separate night for the discussion. Groups often appreciate being able to hear the different or similar responses and discuss them together.

I like to keep the questions for the small group form simple and effective to lead to deeper evaluative discussion among members. I have used some found in the assessment pack, Is Our Church Discipling? as well as made up our own.

1.  Are we studying the Bible just to accumulate knowledge?

a. Evidence that we are:
b. Evidence that we are not:

2.  Are we coming to the Bible with arrogance? Do we come with the mindset to be transformed by it or prove our agenda through it?

a. Evidence that we are:
b. Evidence that we are not:

3.  How has involvement in this group brought transformation to you this year?

a. Evidence in your life and spiritual journey:

4.  What has been most challenging for you in living life together in the group?

5.  What are the strengths and growth areas of your leader? (not necessarily shared in group discussion)

a. Strengths:
b. Areas for growth:

6.   Has your group been living in mission?

a. Evidence that we are:
b. Evidence that we are not:

7.  How has the prayer discipline of your group been effective and powerful?

8.  How have you seen the Holy Spirit at work in your group?

9.  Share one Joy and one concern you have had this year:

a. Joy:
b. Concern:

These are just a few of a myriad of questions you could use to help groups evaluate themselves. You may have more. My suggestion is that the questions are organized around the purpose and mission of your small group ministry. Ours is primarily to grow disciples, so we want them to reflect that focus.

Evaluation is healthy and necessary to make sure that we are meeting our goals for ministry, in particular to what God has called us to. We are not doing the church's ministry any favors by missing this important and valuable step.

'til next time,

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