You might question how staff evaluations are tied in to the Gospel. Obviously it would pertain to those who are involved in outreach types of ministries but what about other ministries? Here’s how: The power of Gospel affects all areas of our lives and ministries, going well beyond that initial moment of placing our trust in Jesus. Our fruitfulness in ministry, no matter what we might do, ties back to the Gospel.
In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. (Col. 1:16)
If it wasn’t for the cross, we would not be able to do anything of eternal merit. When seventy-two of Jesus’ disciples returned to Him after a fruitful ministry endeavor they were pumped up about what happened, telling Jesus, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus agreed with them that good things happened as a result of their ministry but added, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Lk. 10:17-20). Jesus took them back to the reality that they could only do what they did because of His work in their lives.
So, in light of this truth, why wouldn’t we tie the Gospel into staff evaluation?
As just noted, the Gospel is the starting point for our effectiveness in ministry.
Consequently, we need to keep taking people back to the cross in the way we do staff evaluations.
1) Does the way they do ministry align with the Gospel?
Because the Gospel affects the whole of our lives and ministries, the Apostle Paul exhorted the Philippian church, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).
The Apostle Paul even evaluated fellow church leaders in accordance with this criteria. He said, “When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas …” (Gal. 2:14). No one is above aligning their lives and ministry with the Gospel. It is a necessity to make an eternal difference.
We align with the Gospel by being willing to love and forgive others as we have been by God through Christ, by extending both grace and truth, by backing up the words we speak about life in Christ with actions, etc. What we say and do are consistent with the message of the Gospel. And, we are “not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Rom. 1:16)
2) Is there anything they are doing that might be impeding the power of the Gospel from bearing fruit in their ministry?
The hindrances could be from weaknesses or something they are doing wrong, perhaps inconsistencies, faulty doctrine, poor treatment of people, godly qualities that are missing, etc. but could simply be from not using the most effective means of serving in that particular situation. The Apostle Paul provides an example of the latter. He could have expected donations from the Corinthian Church to support his ministry but didn’t whereas in other places he did take people’s support. In this particular case he sensed it would be more of a hindrance for him to do so. — “If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1 Cor. 9:12)
3) What evidences might there be in their ministries that they are not pulling on the power of the Gospel to be effective, to make changes, to bear fruit?
2 Peter 1:8-9 makes it clear that godly traits needed to be effective and productive are missing because we aren’t constantly going back to the cross. — “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” (2 Pet. 1:8-9)
Ephesians 6:15 implies that spiritual defeat, an inability to stand firm in battle, in part ties into not having “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). When doing ministry God’s way, we can expect spiritual battles along the way. Part of God’s armor includes the power of the gospel.
4) What evidences might there be in their ministries that they are pulling on the power of the Gospel?
As already noted, because of the power of the Gospel at work, we should see some kind of fruit (Col. 1:16). We should be making some kind of eternal difference. And, we should be causing others to praise God as a result of what has been accomplished. We see this in what Paul told the Corinthians, “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else” (2 Cor. 9:13).
Whether or not you word the questions used in staff evaluations as asked above, this is what we truly should be evaluating, not merely what strengths and weaknesses a person has and how they need to improve. We need to be concerned about the person’s effect on the Gospel so the cross is not stripped of its power in our churches and ministries.
Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel … (Rom. 16:25)