It has only been 14 months since we instituted our new leadership model at Bethany Church whose framework is based on an Oversight Team that labors to maintain the health of the whole church family and Ministry Leadership Teams who are empowered to do the works of ministry in the church and community. This was a major shift from a more traditional centralized structure. For many of us on the Oversight Team it feels like we’ve just really started to comprehend the processes and particulars of how to make this model work effectively!

Even though we are still somewhat “building the boat at sea”, we feel we have enough perspective and experience that we can productively engage in our annual self-evaluation of the Oversight Team. During our last several meetings we have been doing just that. This is the same process we will be asking every Ministry Leadership Team to engage in beginning this fall. One key element in making a decentralized leadership model work is regular open and honest evaluation of all our teams and their activities.

The main component of this evaluation process is what we call “Stop. Start. Continue.”

Stop – Which of our activities and projects are no longer relevant, productive or fruitful and should be discontinued?

Start – What new opportunities has God put before us for the coming year?

Continue – Take a moment to celebrate the things that are going well, and determine which activities should be continued and improved upon where necessary.

The members of the Oversight Team focus their efforts on one of three areas of the church life: Strategic, Equipping, and Organizational. For our self-evaluation process we did the “Stop.Start.Continue” exercise for each of these three areas and are now working through the process of determining what adjustments need to be made to our team and its activities based on our evaluation results.

The second component is what we call our “letter of commitment”. Each member of the Oversight Team completes a form that outlines their goals and commitments for the coming year. You might think of this as “Job Description 2.0”. So often in ministry settings job descriptions are too static and inflexible to be of real value. They do not reflect the constantly shifting responsibilities of ministry work or take into account the whole life of the minister. The “letter of commitment” we have designed is a more flexible approach that allows us to commit to goals and objectives for the sake of focus and evaluation, but also take into account shifts in priorities that may happen. It also takes into account work and life skills training, and spiritual needs of the individual. We believe the “letter of commitment” is a more effective way to maintain focus and health in the work of ministry.

It has been very encouraging and helpful for us on the Oversight Team to take time to go through this process. In the coming few weeks we will be sharing with you some of what we have discussed and adjustments we plan to make based on our findings. Stay tuned! We’ll be providing further updates in the next few Sunday services and also here online. As always, you are welcome to contact any member of the Oversight Team with any questions or email us at overseers@bethanychurchmn.com.