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Surveyed to Life

Posted by Rob McClellan on

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels as though I am getting surveyed to death. I take a trip and by the time I return to work I have a survey in my inbox from the airline and hotel. I’m surveyed about my satisfaction with everything I buy online. Part of me wants to fill out a survey about how I feel about taking so many surveys! And yet, surveys, soliciting feedback can be very helpful.

Several months ago, as part of my performance review with the personnel committee, we did something a little different. We took a sampling of the congregation and asked these members fill out a survey identifying both areas of strength and those for improvement in my ministry. I am grateful for the many of you who participated. This kind of feedback helps me understand the priorities of different people, their experience of me, and what the believe God wants of this church. I read and took to heart what you said, and it has impacted my ministry.

As a result of this process, I have been able to make some rather simple adjustments as well as consider deeper questions. I realized how tied up I often am after worship, which for many people is their only chance to interact with me, so as we planned 2018-2019 I made a concerted effort to keep that time more open. As I assume staff liaison role to Outreach & Society, and Bethany assumes that for Worship which I previously staffed, I have begun to consider what increased involvement in the community could look like for me as well as for the church.

There will be additional opportunities for you to offer feedback in formal processes for other staff as well. We are just completing a music survey, to gauge the congregation’s sense of the direction of our music and choral program, which will help RuthE. and the pastoral staff in planning. Similarly, as I did this year, Bethany will likely have a similar review process in the coming year and this may extend to other program staff too.
In all of this, I am grateful to the Personnel committee which, under the direction and leadership of chair Betty Hasler, has not only overhauled the staff evaluation process, but worked to update our employee manual and other important workplace practices. This is not glamorous work, but it serves as a vital foundation for a healthy and functioning organization.

Years ago, when in a position of giving feedback, difficult feedback in this case, I was taken by how the recipient replied with such open-hearted gratitude, quoting Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.” Thank you for continuing to sharpen me and for creating a safe space for us all to sharpen one another in the spirit of Christian generosity, that together we might better be the body of Christ in the world.

Though I know it can feel as though we get surveyed to death sometimes, thank you for helping survey me to life!

God’s Peace, Rob


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