THE RESPONSIBILTY OF A HARVESTER South Central District Pastor Teacher Family Conference 2010
Final Responsibility “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) ac·count·abil·i·ty Definition: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's action
Improper Evaluation 1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
Improper Evaluation 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)
Improper Evaluation To whom are we responsible as “servants of Christ”? When will our work be judged? Is Paul saying “I am accountable only to God” or “I am accountable, finally, to God”? Evaluate Paul’s reason for saying what he does. What were some of the standards by which you think the Corinthians were evaluating his ministry?
Improper Evaluation Carleton Toppe in his People’s Bible commentary says, “Paul does not despise public opinion, but he does question the competency of the Corinthian ‘court’ to ‘pass on his credentials with Christ as his Lord.’ Where evident unfaithfulness in their pastors is concerned, however, a Christian congregation has the right and duty to judge its pastors. But it cannot judge faithfulness as God alone can. ” (p.44)
Improper Evaluation Why must this distinction be made clear between judging what only God can see and judging what God calls on men to observe?
TABLE TALK: Brainstorming the Barriers What are our current barriers to pastoral evaluation? What concerns might we have about pastoral assessment? How can we overcome these concerns?
Proper Assessment “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” (1Timothy 4:15) How can pastoral assessment and evaluation be helpful in accomplishing Paul’s charge to Timothy?
Proper Assessment “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Assessment is an issue of stewardship of the Means of Grace. Our Lord calls us to be faithful stewards of the Means of Grace and use them in the best way we can. That is what God-pleasing assessment is about.
A Proper Distinction He wants us to be faithful to God‘s Word and faithful with God‘s Word. There is a tension in our ministry between these two truths. Nowhere does he tell us that the efficacy of the Word excuses a lack of working or planting or going. Nowhere does Jesus tell us that our working and going and planting are what saves. Efficacy cannot be an excuse for laziness; effort or results cannot be an excuse for pride. (Jonathan Schroeder: Worship & Outreach: A Lutheran Paradigm, p. 7)
A Proper Distinction Why must the difference between the stewardship and the efficacy of the Means of Grace be clear in ministry assessment?
Consider What’s Possible One friend of mine said, “Pastoral assessment is not about ratings. It’s about encouraging the development of gifts. It’s about discovering what resources you need for continuing education. It’s about playing to your strengths. It’s about developing a game plan and a support team.” What is your reaction to this sentiment about evaluation?
Consider What’s Possible Agree or disagree: “The attitude of the one being evaluated and the attitude of the one doing the evaluation is the priority.”
Consider the Alternative If you don’t set goals, you have nothing to measure. If you don’t assess, you have nothing to celebrate. It is like a Navy ship which goes on maneuvers, fires all of its guns but never checks to see if their shells hit the targets.
Consider the Alternative If you don’t, one of two tragedies occurs: either you hit the targets but don’t know it … OR you miss the targets and don’t know it. Discuss:Why are goal setting, formal assessment and celebration all integral to the process?
A Loving Motive is Key Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4:29) Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. (1 Th5:12-13)
A Loving Motive is Key Make applications from these two passages to pastoral feedback and assessment. Why must those involved keep those previous Bible truths in mind during an evaluation process?
TABLE TALK Discuss the comment: “Resignations in ministry come more from a lack of character than a lack of academic ability.” Relate this thought to brotherly encouragement that comes from holding one another accountable.
TABLE TALK React to the following quote. “Help people realize that when they fail to provide peers with constructive feedback they are letting them down personally. By holding back, we are hurting not only the team, but also our teammates themselves.” (from Overcoming the Five Dysfunction of a Team: A Field Guide by Patrick Lencioni, p. 65) What application(s) to ministry evaluation might you make from this thought?
TABLE TALK Define what you would consider “constructive criticism” • What would you like to receive from your leaders? • What would you like to receive from your peers?
Embracing Accountability “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.” (1 Co 3:11-13) Why is our accountability to each other now so important for later?
Embracing Accountability “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (He 4:13) and “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.” (He 13:17a) What special accountability do we have to God as called workers?
Embracing Accountability In his People’s Bible commentary on Hebrews, Richard Lauersdorf says about Hebrews 4:13, “To the unbeliever this thought is law, warning him that God cannot be fooled, neither will he be mocked. To the believer this thought is gospel, warming him with the thought that God knows all his weaknessesand stands ready to provide all that is needed in Christ.” How might this thought lead you to embracethe pastoral evaluation process?