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June 16, 2016

The Importance of Assessments

By Daniel Im

*Plus Members can watch this entire Behind-The-Scenes interview by logging in and clicking here.

The Importance of Assessments—Greg Wiens

I have a friend that started playing speed golf. Speed golf is quite different from regular golf, for the goal of speed golf is to finish 18 holes as quickly as possible (without a cart). [I know what some of you are thinking. Why in the world would anyone want to run and play golf? I get it!] A speed golf score combines what the golfer shot and the amount of time it took them to finish. As a result of trying to finish the round as quickly as possible, no practice swings are taken, no grass is flung into the air to see which way the wind is blowing, no hotdog is scarfed down at the turn, and no time for green reading (to see which way the putt breaks) is taken. In other words, there’s no time for assessments.

Sometimes it seems that churches and church leaders take more of a speed golf posture. They run around hoping they make a good swing, that the wind blows their way, and that they read the situation appropriately. Therefore, they don’t assess. The lack of assessment hurts or hinders a church’s or a leader’s effectiveness.

Greg Wiens, Chief Catalyst for Healthy Growing Churches (HGC), believes assessments are important and is committed to using them to help engage churches and leaders in multiplication. Recently I sat down with Greg to discuss assessments and how he uses them for established churches as well as for church planters.

Assessments for Turnaround Churches

There’s been much written on the state of the established church. Depending on who you read, 70–90% of churches exist in a plateaued or decline state. For many of these churches, they don’t take the necessary time nor effort to assess the “why” of their state. They hope that a new service, more upbeat music, a new outreach program, or a younger energetic pastor will help them climb out of their struggling position.

When a struggling church contacts HGC for help, Greg takes the church through an in-depth assessment process. Prior to HGC’s arrival, they send a packet of information where they ask the church to complete a research packet, which includes compiling information on the church’s history, structure, bylaws, key events, history of the staff, current staff, etc. After assessing the church’s information packet, Greg and HGC spend time with the church, the staff, and conduct focus group meetings with the members of the church.

Upon completing the assessment process, Greg meets with the church leaders to discuss the results. According to Greg, over the years he has typically found at least six lids that prohibit churches from growing. They are:

  • Staff—having the wrong person on the bus or in the wrong seat
  • Structure—governance
  • Strategies—programming or ministries
  • Systems—process in place to assimilate and disciple people
  • Space—the functionality or look of the building; or possibly location
  • Spiritual state—whether it has been an individual’s sin or corporate sin

Once Greg and HGC present their recommendations, they offer to coach the church over the next couple of years through the implementation process.

To read the final point about assessing church planters and to listen to the entire Behind the Scenes with Greg Wiens click here for the full video and post.

This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.

Tweetables:

  • Assessments are important.
  • The lack of assessment hurts or hinders a church’s or a leader’s effectiveness.
  • Assessments are important and help engage churches and leaders in multiplication @gregwiens.
  • For many established churches, they don’t take the necessary time nor effort to assess the “why” of their state.
  • Six lids that prevent churches from growing: staff, structure, strategies, systems, space, spiritual state @gregwiens.
  • Assessing a church planter is like assessing someone to play football @gregwiens.
  • Church planter assessments aren’t meant to give a green/red light, but to reveal strengths/weaknesses in fulfilling God’s call. @gregwiens
  • Assessments give us valuable information to make wise, healthy, and godly decisions so that we may be more effective and fruitful.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.

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