Our Easter service provision was generally well received across the parish and the ministry team will be reviewing attendance figures and other relevant feedback from members of our congregations. It’s always good to have feedback so that we can improve, modify or rectify omissions in the future. Easter (even more so than Christmas) is the festival that challenges us all to participate fully in so that we can learn and try to understand more about the basis of our faith and belief. The Alpha course is a foundational introduction to faith and for those who are seeking to explore or learn more is an ideal starting place.
Reviewing performance is necessary in all areas of life and most of you will be familiar with work-related personal appraisals in some form or other. Nationally, our schools and colleges are subject to regular OFSTED inspections and our hospitals and care homes inspected by the Care Quality Commission.
We all tend to dread having our performance monitored but if we are doing our work to the best of our ability then there should be nothing to fear. Positive outcomes can be very affirming and when a job has been done well it’s good to recognise this. We also know too that we can improve our performance by perhaps paying more attention to the areas of work that we don’t find as easy or attractive or are less concerned with.
The church is no different from other professions and jobs, in that there is a defined performance review system in place across the dioceses. The MDR (ministerial and development review) is carried out on an annual basis and every third year is conducted by a senior churchman ie a bishop or archdeacon. This year I had my review with the Archdeacon and found it a helpful consultation. More than being just about performance, it’s also about looking ahead to personal development and of the ministry that will be required in the future. We found it comparatively easy to identify some of the problems that we face, but much more difficult to find any simple solutions! I suspect that this is always the case and we just have to keep moving forward with new ideas and ways to link the community with church life.
Training needs and other development aids are also discussed which serve to improve performance. Life-long learning has always been emphasised for ministers and the responsibility to recognise and identify these requirements are discussed in the review process. All in all it’s a thorough and robust process which I think serves us and the church well.
In preparation for my review, I was asked to complete a report in the form of answers to a number of questions. That in itself was a good way of reflecting on where I thought I was and where I wanted to be. When the email to fix the date for the review pops up on my computer screen there is always that sharp intake of breath knowing I will have to give an account of my past year’s ministry and have some intelligible thoughts about the future. After all though, the most important thing for me is to help make the Christian faith known and visible in the people I serve and I want to say thank you for making my job much easier by all that you contribute.