The Importance Of Growing Your Organization Through Feedback
Sometimes we avoid receiving feedback because it can feel like inviting conflict. Conflict is a natural part of any church or organization; if you manage feedback well, then you can leave your organization in a healthier and stronger place. It can be easy for a church staff to become disconnected from the congregation, so it is crucial to always have a finger on the pulse of the church body.
Here are five suggestions on how to manage feedback well in your church.
1. Create a Culture of Ownership in Your Church
A church cannot exist without its congregation. The church needs to understand that its attendees have a stake and vested interest in the church. This is the most vital step. Make sure your people understand they have a right to have their voice heard and to give feedback where needed, and that their feedback is welcomed. This is the first step in creating a healthy culture of open communication.
"Make sure your people understand they have a right to have their voice heard and to give feedback where needed, and that their feedback is welcomed."
2. Create Clear Procedures for Formal Feedback
People should know where to give appropriate feedback. Make sure to have a point person to receive feedback, and if your church is large enough, then one person per team or department is the recommended amount. Make sure the feedback is going to the correct person that can influence a change if necessary, or at least get information to the right people. This could be a more formal process with an online form directed to the right person. Or depending on your church size and polity, a congregational meeting once or twice a year in a forum setting is also a great way to foster communication.
3. Have an Opportunity for People to Provide Informal Feedback
Unlike the previous approach that is considered formal, it is important to also have a venue where people can discuss and provide input informally. For example, a church could organize a once or twice a month informal meeting after service. You could inform your congregation that pastors will be available to chat in the coffee area after service on these dates and make the environment informal and conversational. You’re more likely to understand how things need to change after talking to the people who will be directly affected by those changes.
"You’re more likely to understand how things need to change after talking to the people who will be directly affected by those changes."
4. Make it Easy to Get Involved and Serve
If someone is going out of their way to give feedback, it usually means they want to be more involved and vested in the ministry of the church. If they have feedback about a particular ministry, make sure they understand how they can help and be more directly involved.
5. Have Clear Communication Guidelines for Your Staff
It’s important that all of your staff are on the same page when they respond and communicate with your congregation. Some information is public and appropriate for anyone, while other information might be reserved for staff and volunteer leaders. It’s advisable that all staff understands what questions are appropriate for them to answer freely and what information to keep private when talking to people.
These are just a few starting points when it comes to creating systems for feedback in your church. What are some feedback or communication strategies your church has implemented that have been successful?