Planning and Evaluating

Evaluation and planning for the future are essential for a healthy congregation. Evaluation and planning are interrelated. In order to do any evaluation, a church community must have some plans for what it wants to accomplish. It is impossible to have helpful evaluation if there is no plan; you cannot know if you achieved your goals if you never formed any goals! Likewise, it is necessary to have some way to evaluate how the congregation is doing in achieving its goals.

The purpose of evaluation and planning is not to make the church a business or to deny the leading of the Holy Spirit. Listening to God in prayer is an essential part of the planning process. In response to the leading of the Holy Spirit, a parish makes plans for its future and evaluates its progress. Evaluation and planning make it possible for a congregation to coordinate its ministries and to use its resources wisely. These efforts help the parish follow God more consistently.

There are a variety of resources to help clergy and lay leaders do effective planning and evaluation. There is not one perfect way to do evaluation and planning. It is helpful to chose from these resources according to the needs and circumstances of each congregation.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

Mutual Ministry Review – This is an annual review with the rector or vicar and lay leaders to evaluate progress on goals and plan for the future, often mid-way through the calendar year. There are several trained facilitators in the diocese for this. Contact the Rev. Canon Britt Olson at britt@norcalepsicopal.org

Vestry Retreats – These planning sessions for vestries or mission committees are usually held in the beginning of the calendar year to plan for the coming year of ministry and to integrate newly elected members. Trained facilitators are available for this; contact the Rev. Canon Britt Olson at britt@norcalespiscopal.org

Peter Steinke – Peter Steinke has done work about planning and evaluation from the standpoint of family systems theory. He is the author of several books about this available through the Alban Institute (www.alban.org), and he does consulting for congregations and dioceses. He was the lead presenter at one of our diocesan clergy conferences. Find more information about his material, seminars, and consulting at www.healthycongregations.com

Alice Mann – Alice Mann is a consultant with the Alban Institute who does training in congregational development and planning, with special expertise in dealing with transitions in congregational size (pastoral to program size, etc.). She is the author of several books in the area of planning and evaluation, including Raising the Roof: The Pastoral-to-Program Size Transition and Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations. Contact her and find information about her consulting and books through the Alban Institute, www.alban.org.

J. Russell Crabtree
– Russell Crabtree is an author and consultant about effective planning for congregations and diocese. He has been the lead presenter at one of our diocesan clergy conferences. For information about his consulting and books, see this website: www.holycowconsulting.com

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES

Alban Institute – The Alban Institute provides seminars, webinars, conferences, books, and consulting for churches in planning and evaluation.

Kaleidoscope Institute
– The Kaleidoscope Institute offers seminars and training in congregation planning and evaluation, especially in intercultural ministry and communication.

Church Development Institute – This is in-depth training in congregational development, including evaluation and planning. The basic class for this is held for ten days over two summers in Seattle.

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