Performance Reviews: Avoiding the Pitfalls

How pastors can get honest feedback without getting ambushed.

Most pastors I know are committed to personal growth. Not many are willing to settle for mediocrity. The vast majority spend hours reading, praying, and studying in an unending quest for spiritual and professional growth.

Yet, curiously, many of us avoid the most vital ingredient for continued growth-someone to candidly tell us how we are doing.

My friend Dave is a case in point. In fifteen years of ministry he has never received a formal evaluation. It's not that he is unaware of the potential benefits. It's that he is also keenly aware of the potential pitfalls. He knows firsthand the sting of betrayal. The thought of providing a platform for a small group of adversaries to air their grievances makes the idea out of the question.

In many ways, Dave is right. Reviews can be risky; handled poorly, they can give our enemies an opportunity to open fire. Expecting the precise scalpel of correction, we can get the blunt ax of criticism. I know two pastors who left seemingly successful ...

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