During my last post, we talked about the value of evaluating our ministry. Today we’re going to look at the “How To.” Nehemiah is known for his story of how he led the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. One thing though that is missed many times is what happened before he ever laid the first stone in place to begin that rebuilding. Before the rebuilding ever took place, Nehemiah evaluated the situation and then formulated his plan. Here are a few steps on evaluating that we can learn from Nehemiah:
Step 1) –Seeing it for yourself
In Nehemiah 2:11 it tells us that Nehemiah went and checked out the situation himself. He didn’t simply rely on reports that he had heard but he went and checked it out first hand. Other people’s information can be great in helping us evaluate but in order to properly check out what is going on, we have to see it first hand. Suppose you have reports of a Sunday School teacher or small group leader that is constantly unprepared, then making a surprise visit will allow you to see it with your own eyes. Maybe you’re having space issues in a classroom that is overcrowded, then stopping by to see it will give you a better appreciation of what the situation really is. Simply hearing a report about something is not enough to begin to evaluate and develop a solution.
Step 2) – Bring along some trusted advisors
In Nehemiah 2:12 it tells us that Nehemiah brings along a few men. These were probably men that Nehemiah knew he could trust to be open and honest with him about the situation. It also could have been that these men were engineers of some sort to help formulate the plan because Nehemiah after all was a cupbearer by trade. If we are going to properly evaluate our ministry we all need those extra eyes to help us gain a better perspective of the situation. The key to this step is who you decide to bring along. If you bring along a yes men then all you will get is your own opinion of the situation because they will agree with everything you say. If you bring along the negative naysayers then they will be great at pointing out every problem but will fail to offer up one solution. Great care should be taken to develop a group of people in your life that know will be honest about a situation and genuinely have a desire to see the ministry succeed.
Step 3) –Attention to detail
In Nehemiah 2:13-15 he is very detailed in where he traveled. Many times the difference between a successful organization and an unsuccessful one is the attention to details. The same thing is true in ministry. Many times the difference in a ministry that is making a difference and one that is struggling to stay afloat is the attention to details. Many times we overlook this area thinking it’s just the church, that will be fine. In Malachi 1, it tells of a people that had this attitude in regards to the sacrifices they were offering. They were offering God their good enough rather than their very best. We are to give God our very best and that means paying attention to the details rather than having the attitude of just getting by.
Step 4) – The Value of Evaluation
In Nehemiah 2:17-18 he executes the plan. The real value in evaluation is formulating a plan based on our observations and then taking action on that plan. If we evaluate just to present a report to a deacon group or church committee, then we have missed out on the real value of evaluation. Real value of evaluation only happens when we take action on what we know.