After more than 25 years of working with organizational intelligence, it has become clear that lay leaders are more open to its benefits than clergy. Roughly 70% of the assessments we conduct are with churches or middle judicatories with no installed or “settled” leader in place. Only after a clergy person leaves do leaders feel free to conduct an assessment. Once a new clergy leader is in place, it is very likely that a church will not run another comprehensive assessment until the next ordained leader moves on. The rare exception usually occurs when a middle judicatory strongly encourages it as a matter of policy.
Why should pastors and executives support a periodic assessment of the faith communities they lead? Here are six reasons.
· First, assessment provides opportunities to celebrate. The outfield wall of a baseball field may seem intimidating, but without it you don’t know when to cheer.
· Second, assessment can help clergy identify the “levers” in a faith community where small amounts of applied energy can make big differences.
· Third, refusing to face issues does not make them go away, it only roots them deeper. What we resist, persists. A non-defensive, non-anxious engagement of issues is healthy and often positive for everyone.
· Fourth, an assessment can bring clarity to areas where the clergy leader is a good fit, but also areas where other members of the leadership team would make a better contribution.
· Fifth, many issues are not problems with the pastor; they are problems with the system. When a clergy person resists an assessment process because he/she takes everything personally, the “system” is robbed of an opportunity to learn and grow.
· Finally, fear of assessment can be a signal that a leader’s ego is getting in the way, Edging God Out, as they say. For the Christian leader, listening is not an option. It is no accident that the same Epistle that issues a sober admonition to those who teach also counsels us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak.”
For more on assessments and to get in touch with us to make this happen for your organization please visit our website at www.holycowconsulting.com.