3 Things To Include In Effective Church Staff Reviews


If you’ve been a part of a well-functioning team for any extended period of time, you’ve probably participated in some type of staff review. Though the mention of staff reviews is often met with the sound of heavy groans from those around you, a good staff review system can be key to keeping your team on track toward your goals and vision, getting the most out of your ministries, and ensuring everyone is headed in the same direction.

But how do you create and implement staff reviews?

Here are several simple steps to help you examine and clarify the criteria and specifics for beginning or revising your church staff review process.

Where to begin?

You must first decide, “On what criteria are we reviewing?”  Below are three main areas to include in effective church staff reviews, and you can easily add to them or modify them as you see fit.

1. Review based on performance.

This should be the easiest criterion to review on, but we’ve found that often roles and responsibilities aren’t always clearly defined for a church staff, and there aren’t always clear metrics to measure performance on a church staff.

You may need to start by cleaning up job descriptions. This sounds like a daunting task, but in the long run it creates a much more streamlined ministry environment. To be clear, we fully support a collaborative work environment where the phrase, “That’s not my job” isn’t acceptable. However, clear job descriptions and responsibilities allow your team to know what they need to get done, delegate, and/or prioritize in order to accomplish the vision and mission of the church.

As you’re cleaning up job descriptions, ask yourself, “What is each staff member expected to accomplish, daily, weekly, and quarterly? Does each staff member know and understand the specifics of their role and the area of the ministry for which they are responsible?”

Once you have specific job descriptions and responsibilities, it is much easier to review based upon the church staff member’s performance – how well they have executed their tasks and fulfilled their responsibilities.

2. Review based on vision and measurable goals.

Let’s say one of your church staff’s main goals this year is to reach more families in the immediate neighborhood surrounding your church. Now take a look at each team member’s individual goals. Are they all aligned with that main objective, and if not, how should they shift to all work toward that goal? For example, one of your Children’s Pastor’s main goals could be to find a curriculum that best engages and connects with demographic of families living in your area.

In order to set and align your church staff’s individual and team goals, you must first ask yourself, “What is our long-term vision and mission for the church?” Next, and based on that answer, set your specific overall goals for this year, five years from now, and 10 years from now.

Next, set each ministry team’s and staff member’s goals – all correlated to the main vision and mission. Once you have clear goals in place, it's simple to perform staff reviews based on how your team has met their goals.

As you or your ministry team leaders are setting or changing the church team member’s individual goals, make sure to keep these guidelines in mind.

  • Make the goals reasonable: Are the goals you are setting reasonable and obtainable goals? 100% growth isn’t a realistic number, but 10% growth may be. It’s important that the goals you set for your church staff represent actual attainable achievements. 
  • Make the goals specific:  “A more exciting youth program” is a great objective, but how do you measure that? “Adding one new youth event a quarter,” is a more specific way to achieve that goal.
  • Make the goals measurable: Be sure that there are realistic metrics for your team members to target.  How can you look back on their performance and gauge their success?
  • Make the goals aligned: This goes back to what I mentioned above. If your church staff’s goals aren’t in line with the church vision, what’s the point?
  • Make the goals time-specific: Clearly spell out what you expect from each team member and be sure that they understand what they’re promising to do and when things need to be accomplished by.

3. Review based on values.

Here at Vanderbloemen, we have 9 core values that we strive toward, celebrate, and talk about regularly: Broadband Love, Unusual Servantood, Wow-making Excellence, Ridiculous Responsiveness, Solution-Side Living, Ever-Increasing Agility, Stewardship of Life, Constant Improvement, and Contagious Fun.

Everyone on our team knows these values, and we’re constantly recognizing the ways we see them lived out around the office. So when we have our quarterly staff reviews, our team leaders spend a fair amount of time talking with us about how we’ve lived out each of our values.  For example, “How has Sarah displayed Constant Improvement this quarter? We saw Sarah model Constant Improvement when she took the initiative to reevaluate our communication model with our clients.”

We think that reviewing on values is one of the most important aspects of a staff review, as it effectively measures culture fit and vision alignment.  When basing staff reviews on your core values, first ask yourself, “What values make up our staff culture? Are those values clearly defined and is our church team aware of these stated values? Is there a place that these are displayed for everyone to see? How can we incorporate and recognize our values on a regular basis?” I encourage you to take the time to work through this – it can be a game changer for your church staff culture.

What other criteria should be included in church staff reviews?