I’m working with a pastor to help him get a better picture of himself . . . and to help him serve most effectively in the local church.
What do you look at when you’re measuring a man and his ministry? Try an assessment grid. But there’s a guiding principle in using such a grid: Never use it as an adversary, but use it as a fellow brother in the fight for the good of the church and the building up of the Lord’s servant leader.
Below are core categories taken from the FiveStone Churches Pastor Assessment Grid:
• Relationship with the Lord
• Doctrine and Ministry Compatibility (with the specific church and church network)
• Emotional Health
• Relational Ability
• Marriage and Sons and Daughters Relationships
• Personal Integrity
• Vision and Philosophy of Ministry
• Spiritual Gifts and Natural Talents
• Knowledge and Understanding of Church Planting and Church Growth
• Concluding Inferences (garnered from all of the previous information)
Relationship with the Lord
Listen closely to the man’s salvation experience. How clearly does he tell the story
and what is revealed when he tells it? Does his experience square with the Scriptures’ teaching on salvation? A man who can clearly and joyfully tell share own salvation likely can share the gospel with an unbeliever. Listen as he describes his personal devotions in Bible study. Consider factors such as frequency, intensity, systems and study tools. Ask him about his life in prayer and meditation. Is meditation OK? What’s the difference between prayer and meditation? Ask him to describe the hardest, breaking experiences that he’s been through as a believer and as an unbeliever and ask him to explain how they have affected his relationship with the Lord and with others. How does he serve others as a result of his relationship with the Lord and the knowledge of His ways. Does he have a heart for the poor and the disadvantaged? What does he do that reveals he cares for the poor and disadvantaged?
If handled skillfully and thoughtfully, those few discussion points can paint a pretty good picture of the man’s relationship with the Lord.
Some men seem to have an uncommon closeness to the Lord that is revealed in the fruit of regular and deep devotions. That man exhibits large evidence of communion with the Lord. How? The Scriptures are not merely spoken from his lips but they are imbedded in his thinking, in how he processes the everyday activities and common problems of life. He exhibits the fruit of the Spirit not perfectly, of course, but consistently. When he falls, he gets back up and goes on to be better. He’s driven by His relationship with the Lord rather than what many in church world might describe as Success. He has an obvious understanding of and reliance upon the Lord’s ways.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are others (even in pastoral ministry or in leadership of a local church) who cannot clearly and biblically articulate their own salvation experience. Or sometimes their testimony is mechanical and cold. They have irregular and perfunctory devotions, what I call 10-minute Croutons. They seem to have little communion with the Lord. The Scriptures do not drive their thinking or, of course, their behavior. They often are strong in themselves. There’s little or no understanding of and reliance upon the Lord’s ways.
Most of us range in the middle portion of the spectrum in our relationship with the Lord. But it’s crucial to know. There’s nothing good in self-deception. It never fails that, as I assess others, I always end up assessing myself. James 1:22-25.