I’ve spoken to some people who think we shouldn’t use “# of conversions” when reviewing a project or program they’ve run. They’ll say something like; “conversion is God’s work”, or “we don’t have any control over that”. And on that basis they consider it inappropriate to use metrics like conversions.
But isn’t God sovereign over all things? Over every metric you could possibly use?
What about, “How many people invited friends”… Isn’t God just as sovereign over that too?
What about, “How many people grew in their confidence?”… Again, that’s God at work.
I think the real reason some people don’t like using metrics for assessments is because of how they see people use them badly. But let’s be clear, that’s not a problem with using metrics, that’s a problem with people who use metrics badly.
These two conversations are very different. They have different styles, different data, different “feel”, different implications. Swapping between them too quickly can falsely carry elements from one into the other.
Past-focused conversations are mostly objective (what actually happened; numbers, times, data). You can debate the subjective elements (was it good/bad/helpful?) from the data. You can also do real analysis; why did this happen? What were the chain if events that lead to this mistake?
Future-focused conversations are mostly subjective (what will we do? What will happen when…?). But you can be clearer on the desired outcomes (we all agree we want A, B & C). And you can plan out the processes.
So be clear, say, “Let’s talk about what happened last time…” And hold back all your “next time…” thoughts.
Later say, “ok, let’s change gears and talk about what we want in the future. Is there anything from what we looked atom the past we want to keep/change?”
Doing both at the same time is usually confusing and unproductive.
About 12 months ago I took an architect and a couple of our Committee of Elders to a 1970s warehouse and pitched the idea that by the grace of God we could use it as a home base for our church activities. They showed amazing trust in my intuition, they helped work out how to communicate it well to our church, and they pitched-in heaps. God showed amazing grace in getting it all finished too. It was a wild ride that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But here’s some reflections a year out…
(If you don’t know about our HBC Hub, it’s for all our non-Sunday activities… we don’t do church there at all. It’s just for meetings, lunches, Women’s Bible Study, night time seminars, evangelistic series, welcome nights, anything… just not “sunday church”)
- There are ONLY 3 types of spaces you need in a church hub – these were the things I was looking for in the 80 or so places I looked at;
- car parking spaces,
- informal spaces (meeting rooms, conf rooms, cafe, entry, hot-swap desks, etc),
- utility spaces (kitchen, toilets, storage, photocopier, stationery, etc).
- (I’m really glad we didn’t use space for private offices. It can make it hard to have some conversations, but that’s what the meeting rooms are for. The space is too valuable.)
- Commercial building requirements are generally twice as ridiculous as residential ones.
- Labour is generally 4 times the cost of materials – so pray for helpers.
- Some helpers are great at one type of job, some are great at doing many. Get people doing their type of thing.
- People generally need to be given permission to start. If you find a good starter, he’s a God-send for helping others.
- It’s worth getting professionals to do jobs that everyone will look at in years to come… like setting the plaster on the gyprock.
- I’m glad we put the money into glass doors and extra glass panels in walls; it lets in heaps of light and it means there are no “unseen” meetings. Everything’s above board.
- Getting the right materials and tools on site at the right time took 80% of my time.
- While in the midst of it, I was very emotional. I was constantly on edge about how people would judge it, and if they thought it was a stupid idea. Even when they said they liked it, and they couldn’t wait, I still heard them as if they were complaining it was taking too long. Every question people asked sounded like an attack – but it wasn’t!! My ability to hear them positively went out the window. Towards the end of the project I took a week off before I became a complete wreck. That taught me a lot about my potential to mis-hear people’s intentions.
- Moving the staff coffee machine was the best way to get the staff to leave the old office.
- Some people clean well. Other people clean perfectly. Don’t get the former to do the last sweep, and don’t get the latter to come everyday.
- I wish I’d made the conference room a bit more square shaped. It’s 12m x 5m. It works. And I don’t think we really could have changed the layout, but it’s the only part I’d like to alter.
- The first thing we bought for the hub was a $300 leather sofa suite… 1 week before I even went to the Elders for approval. Having that sofa in the building the whole time meant a lot to me. I feel like I should leave it there when we move out.
- When you ask for donations, be clear that you will only take the things that you want. If people want you to take it on principle that it’s a donation, don’t. It’s amazing how many broken items were “offered”. Ask for people to donate new things, not old things.
- Have a list of things that you want to get, but you don’t have the money for… some people will only want to pay for those type of things. May as well let them.
- Have a celebration at the end. Rejoice in all the ways people have helped… time, skills, even the money that was donated and the praying that was done for it behind the scenes. We got people up and interviewed them simply on the basis that they gave money. It felt a bit weird but they sacrifice was just like all the others, so why not thank God for them?!
You have two options. Call things to an end at the height of their fun, or, call things to an end after that when everyone’s had enough.
This is something they tell teachers and cru camp leaders all the time. Finish activities at the height of the kids fun. Leave them with the taste of the game at its best, most fun. Leave them wanting more. Help them have great memories, so when they think back to what they did, they think, “Oh, I can’t wait to play that game again!!”
But how might that principle apply in other areas? Even with Adults?
Maybe church on Sundays? How can you leave people wanting more? What about Growth Group? How do you end well at the height of fun?
A helpful category of thought for reviewing and planning sermons…
What is the tone and what is the mood?
Tone describes the voice used by the preacher. It could be a calm tone, an angry tone, a concerned tone, a joyful tone, etc…
Mood describes the general feel in the room. A calm mood, a tense mood, a guilty mood, an excited mood.
But it’s not as simple as you’d think… one tone doesn’t always produce the same mood. Watch comedians to see this… each comedian uses different tones, but they all aim for a similar mood.
So be intentional about your tone, and be even more intentional about your mood.
As we train and equip young leaders, we want them to grow in the skill of self-criticism. That’s a pretty tough skill to learn – cause you have to have a go, make mistakes, grow the “eyes” to see the mistakes, and have the humility to own the mistakes and create new ways to deal with it.
So as you get your developing leaders or MTSers to do that, don’t forget to model it yourself.
In 1:1s, in staff meeting, have the guts and the humility to do your own self-criticism. take them through your thing; be it an event or a sermon and let them watch you tear it apart yourself.
And if you want to go one step further, ask them to get in on the action.
So, you’ve planned, organised, delegated, ran and even cleaned up that big ministry event/thing. How do you conduct a review with the team?
1. Acknowledge the fears in the room; some people know they didn’t pull their weight. Some people know their thing didn’t really work. Some people are afraid they just about to get blamed. Acknowledge those fears, speak about them.
2. Go back and remind people of the purpose of the event. What was the big thing you were hoping it would achieve? Start by critiquing that. Was it a good goal? Would you keep it as the goal if you had the chance again? Did the purpose/goal slip from view in the planning/execution?
3. Avoid anecdotal evidence. As much as possible, try to use hard data. Numbers, ratios of new/existing, number of comments, time it started/ended.
4. Talk improvements, not mistakes. There’s a fine line there, but it’s a heart issue.