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Assessment Tools for Lay Ministry
Assessment Tools for Lay Ministry

Congregations become "smarter" as systems as they develop feedback loops that enable the system to learn from its past successes and challenges. Here is a tool that you can use to improve your ministry as well as the experience of your volunteers.

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Sample Congregational Leadership Assessment Questions

Adapted from Jill M. Hudson’s 
When Better Isn’t Enough: Evaluation Tools for the 21st Century

Characteristic 1: The Ability to Maintain Personal Balance

  1. Is my service to the congregation within the number of hours of service agreed upon? 
  2. Do I conduct myself in a professional manner when serving the church in an official capacity? 
  3. Do I honor my status as a member of the congregation by participating fully in its life, not limiting my involvement to the areas in which I serve? 
  4. Do I support my congregation financially at a stewardship level?
  5. Do I maintain a personal spiritual life, such as prayer, meditation and other devotional activities?

Characteristic 2: The Ability to Guide a Transformational Faith Experience

  1. Am I comfortable talking about my faith with others? 
  2. an I direct someone exploring faith for the first time to the programs of my church that might be of assistance? 
  3. Do I seek out new members of our church and find ways to make them feel included?

Characteristic 3: The Ability to Motivate and Develop a Congregation to be a Mission-Focused

  1. Am I aware of the specific population my congregation is trying to reach? 
  2. How have I been hospitable and welcoming to visitors? 
  3. Do I invite people to my church and encourage others to do so? 
  4. How does my area of service help people to be more effective evangelists?

Characteristic 4: The Ability to Develop and Communicate a Vision

  1. Can I articulate the vision of our congregation? 
  2. Do I have a vision for my area of volunteer work? 
  3. Have I communicated this vision to other lay leaders?

Characteristic 5: The Ability to Interpret and Lead Change

  1. Do I seek the information I need to understand the rationale and steps for changes in my congregation? 
  2. Can I interpret the rationale for change to others?

Characteristic 6: The Ability to Promote and Lead Spiritual Formation for Church Members

  1. Do I understand how my work furthers the spiritual development of members? 
  2. Do I recognize the spiritual gifts of others and encourage them to serve in my congregation? 
  3. Do I refer the names of those who may have gifts for service in the church to the appropriate person?

Characteristic 7: The Ability to Provide High-Quality, Relevant Worship Experiences

  1. Am I supportive of the variety of worship services offered in my church? 
  2. Am I familiar enough with each service to make a recommendation to someone inquiring about worship opportunities?

Characteristic 8: The Ability to Identify, Develop, and Support Lay Leaders

  1. Whom have I nurtured into a new leader this year? 
  2. In what ways have I sought out people from marginalized communities (people of color, youth, young adults) as potential leaders? 
  3. How have I encouraged new members to use their gifts in the life of the congregation? 
  4. In what specific ways did I support current leaders? 
  5. How have I contributed to building a healthy congregation? 
  6. Do I attend meetings in the areas of my responsibility? 
  7. Do I comfortably ask questions of others, to better understand their work? 
  8. Have I shared my hopes and dreams for the congregation in the coming year?

Characteristic 10: The Ability to Manage Conflict

  1. Do I understand my own conflict-management style? 
  2. Do I understand my church's process for grievances? 
  3. Do I share conflicts or tensions with my mentor or the person responsible for my area of service? 
  4. Am I willing to ask for help in resolving a conflict?

Characteristic 11: The Ability to Navigate Successfully the World of Technology

  1. Am I proficient in basic computer skills? 
  2. Do I understand the software programs that will help to serve the church’s mission? 
  3. Can I use the Internet for research or communication related to my area of service?

Characteristic 12: The Ability and Desire to Be a Lifelong Learner

  1. Do I have learning goals for myself this year?
  2. Do I contribute to creating a learning community within the staff, leadership team, and congregation?
  3. What workshops or other programs have I attended that enhance the performance of my volunteer service?

About the Author

  • The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise. See the UUA Congregational Life Staff...

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For more information contact conglife@uua.org.