With a goal of making the work of Greater New Jersey leadership transparent and relevant, in 2016, leadership in GNJ rolled out a series of evaluations to assess GNJ ministry and effectiveness. The first of these evaluations focused on conference staff and leadership.
“Evaluations can make us defensive. We internalize what people say or what they didn’t say. We feel vulnerable and uneasy, “said Bishop John Schol about the evaluation process. “It’s difficult work, but like all things difficult, they can make us stronger leaders and help move our mission forward by growing our ministry.”
This first evaluation on GNJ and its leadership, mission and resourcing was made available by email and through the GNJ Digest to all clergy and lay leaders within the conference. The goal of the assessment was to evaluate the services clergy and congregations receive and provide feedback on if the resources we are offering are done with excellence and conviction. The evaluation will be done twice a year.
The evaluation was open for two weeks in late September and 524 laity and clergy participated. The results were posted on GNJ’s website for all to review and given to teams of staff who reviewed the percentages and comments to identify how they can progress and build up ministry within GNJ. Goals were set with the intention of measuring growth with each new survey conducted.
“There are important areas for us to improve,” said Schol, who praised GNJ for a dedicated staff that excels in their work. “They have made substantial headway over the last several years and implemented changes that are expanding GNJ ministry. I am blessed to serve with this staff team.”
The other two surveys which will roll out in 2017 are for congregations and pastors who serve congregations.
The congregational survey will be done once a year in August or early September. District Superintendents will use it as part of the charge conference conversation every fall.
The clergy survey will be done once a year in April. April was intentionally scheduled so that it would be separated from appointment and salary conversations. This evaluation is meant to clarify expectations, set development plans and grow clergy leadership. It is not meant to identify a pastor’s next appointment or salary. The goal is to provide healthy feedback to pastors.
To develop the evaluations, GNJ staff worked with more than 50 clergy and church leaders and received input from the Board of Ordained Ministry. They have been tested by clergy, SPRC chairpersons, lay leadership and congregations.
The results of the survey have been discussed with GNJ staff, at the Episcopacy Committee (which serves as the SPRC for the Episcopal Office), Council on Finance and Administration and the Connectional Table.
“Our congregations, lay leadership and clergy have been working with us so we excel in our ministry to equip spiritual leaders to make disciples and grow vital congregations for the transformation of the world,” said Schol. “We have made a number of changes over the last several years and together we’re beginning to see growth and fruit from our ministry.”