This is part of the series How to Shape Your Ministry Around Disciple Making.
Sean Martin: Phase Three of The Vine Project is what we call loving honest evaluation. Loving honest evaluation is having a conversation amongst leaders about where we’re at currently. So, it’s like doing a diagnostic of your church, small group, Sunday school program, or whatever you’re doing.
How are we doing as leaders? Are we prayerfully teaching the Word of God? Are we seeing gospel growth? I’m not just talking about numbers, but are we seeing gospel growth in people? Are we seeing them grow in Christ? Is the place we meet the right place?
For example: I did a workshop some time ago with a church, and one of the things that came out of a loving honest evaluation we had with the leadership team was that the building they were meeting in wasn’t a helpful building to meet in. It was far away from any neighborhoods, it was difficult to find, there was no parking, and they soon realized they weren’t really going to make disciples there. They were always going to have the same people coming all the time because their location was an impediment to disciple making.
Sometimes it gets more personal. Sometimes the thing that comes out of loving honest evaluation is, “Maybe I’m not the actual person to lead this ministry any further. Maybe someone else needs to lead it.” Kevin, those are really hard conversations to have, but they are very important if we are going to grow in our ministries and if we are going grow as disciples of Christ ourselves. We have to have a loving honest evaluation with ourselves and with our leadership teams quite regularly.
Kevin Halloran: Anything worth doing is worth having hard conversations about.
SM: Absolutely. I think one of the reasons we avoid this is because many of us are afraid of conflict. But we need to learn to see that conflict is creative. If conflict is done with godliness and love and care, it can be a real pastoral opportunity for someone to grow and change.
If you are ever having a loving honest evaluation and you realize you need to move someone on to another ministry, it’s okay to say, “I don’t think God has called you to do this, because He hasn’t gifted you do this.” So, if you do that with sensitivity and Christian love, it can be a pastoral opportunity for someone.
Phase Four focuses on innovation and implementation.