Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Evaluation Should Be Mutual
Obviously, elders have the oversight of a congregation which includes the preacher and other people on staff as well as the rest of the congregation (Acts 20:28). A supervisor has the responsibility of the effectiveness of those under his or her leadership. However, a position and title of oversight does not carry with it infallibility.
Evaluators need to be evaluated. Christians are to honor and express appreciation to the leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13). As members we are not to accept and believe frivolous, unfounded, derogatory comments about elders (1 Timothy 5:17). But if they continually and rebelliously miss the mark with no indication of correction, they are to be publicly censured (1 Timothy 5:18). If that is true, some discussion before that serious reprimand would be following the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).
Evaluation isn’t a negative word. It includes both corrective and positive observations—all for the good of everyone. When we tell the truth about each other, we are free to improve, continue, adjust, or reply to gain a better understanding and relationship. “Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it” (Deuteronomy 1:38) “But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see” (Deuteronomy 3:28). “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
This principle has tremendous implications. Think of how relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, elders and congregations, teachers and students could be improved by invited, truthful, regular, and mutual evaluation.