I remember getting an evaluation from a mentor and team leader that I worked for way back in my younger days as an engineer. I’m sure I was beaming as he shared his thoughts on how I was doing with my various responsibilities and duties. I was convinced that my evaluation review must have been one of the best, if not the best, he had ever had the privilege of giving to a subordinate! And then he came to the “big but.” After giving me all the good stuff, he began to list the things that I could do to improve – and it was quite a list. By the time he finished, I felt like I had soared to the moon, only to crash back down into a flaming heap of scrap metal! It was a humbling experience, and one that I undoubtedly needed.
It can be hard hearing from others about our shortcomings, weaknesses, and missteps. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged, to wonder if we should even bother continuing forward or if it would be better to just throw in the towel and call it a day. But if we refuse to honestly evaluate how we are doing at a particular job, task, project, or duty, we run the danger of never realizing our weaknesses and blind spots which can lead to disappointment and failure. Evaluation may be painful, but it is both good and necessary in helping us take healthy steps towards our goal or destination.
In August of 2020, the Elders of our church and I began to have a hard conversation about where we were as a church body. We were all frustrated and tired – weary even – as we struggled with conflicting thoughts and opinions about how we were doing, what we were about, and where we were going. We agreed that it was necessary to honestly evaluate the many aspects of our church, to look for our weaknesses and blind spots, and to seek God’s will for us as a congregation if we were to attempt to move forward in a healthy way.
What I didn’t anticipate as we entered into this discussion and evaluation was that we would come through the other side of the process with a renewed optimism, hope, and excitement for our church and its place in God’s work in our community. It has been a blessing to me to work through this process, even during the most uncomfortable moments as we shared our greatest fears and frustrations. My prayer is that The Intersection will be better because of the months of work put in by committed leaders who care deeply about following Jesus and leading this church. What, exactly, does “be better” look like? That is something we will be talking about a lot in the weeks and months ahead!