In yesterday’s blog entry, I outlined some of the advantages of pilot projects—starting small to test a ministry idea. Let’s say you do that. How do you know if it’s working? Here are a few ways to evaluate the success of your pilot project.
- Goal achievement. That sounds simple, but it’s essential. Is this pilot project producing the results you were aiming for? (Note: this presupposes that you set clear, measurable goals ahead of time.)
- Motivated team members. How easy is it for you to find—and keep—team members?
The process of training is one of your most important challenges. What is the most effective way to train team members? How do you impart skills as well as deal with the broader issues of discipling? Here are seven principles to bear in mind:
- Mentoring: Successful teams are those in which the loss of any one individual is minimized by the fact that every team member is training another person to take their place.
- Giving freedom to fail: Disciples learn by trial and error—risk taking and humility are essential.
Let’s say you’re coaching someone in the area of spiritual formation. So far he’s had no intentional connection times with God at all. When he visualizes setting aside time to be with God, he’s thinking two hours a day of reflection on scripture. Many times people try to get everything fixed all at once. It’s like saying, “I’m going to run a marathon tomorrow,” when maybe going for a brisk walk for half an hour a day might be good starting point. The problem with overly ambitious goals is that it sets people up for failure. They get discouraged and begin thinking, “I can’t meet my goals. Why even try?”
“… we were lucky enough to grow up in a home environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity. In a different kind of environment our curiosity might have been nipped long before it could have borne fruit.” — Orville Wright, co-inventor of the airplane, along with his brother Wilbur
I love this quote. I too was fortunate enough to grow up in such a home. Many people weren’t. How can we in ministry give our people permission to be creative, to try, to fail, to start over, to think outside the box?