The purpose of assessment is to help leaders improve and succeed

Not everyone is comfortable with being evaluated. It can be threatening, so it has to be done with plenty of love and affirmation. The apostle Paul gave an assessment of one of his team members.

Philippians 2:19-21 If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ

The purpose of assessment is to help leaders get better at what they do, to track progress, and to celebrate success. Assessment covers three areas: head (comprehension), heart (motivation), and hands (practical skill).

Assess comprehension

As a coach, pay attention to two areas of a small group leader’s knowledge. First, evaluate how well they understand the mission. They should have clarity that the mission of their small group is to make disciples who make disciples. In light of that, you will want them to understand why you ask them to do the specific tasks of leadership, such as multiplying their group, being invitational, giving ministry away, building teams, training mentors, and the like. You will assess them based on the core principles laid out in Mentor Training and Small Group Training.

Second, evaluate how well leaders understand the method. How familiar are they with mentoring and small group tools, such as the curriculum library, the small group leader resources, and the FLEX method.

Assess motivation

Coaches are in tune to attitude and motivation in two areas. First, evaluate how much leaders care about people. A small group leader acts as a shepherd to the people in his or her group. There is no substitute for genuine caring.

Second, evaluate how much leaders care about the purpose of the group. They may understand the mission, but are they motivated about it? Is it why they want to lead a group? Cast vision with enthusiasm, tell stories, answer questions, give examples to help leaders gain buy-in for what kind of group theirs can be. If leaders aren’t motivated about reproducing the group or mentoring others, these priorities will never happen.

Assess practical skills

In the end, a leader has to be able to do certain things if the group will succeed.

2 Chronicles 30:22 Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill  they displayed as they served the Lord.

King Hezekiah recognized the skill of the people on his team and encouraged them. The standard for evaluating implementation skills is the Small Group Leader Job Description. That will help you understand how well the leader is creating a healthy group environment, and how well she or he is developing the people in the group.

The purpose of all this assessment is not to tear the leader down or create insecurity, but to come up with a plan. Assessment is essential to a coach’s role. It will help you strategically focus your help where it is most needed. That means you need to understand how and why small groups and mentoring work. You earn the right to offer feedback not only by how much you know, but also by how much you love and care for your leaders.

Follow the assessment schedule

We encourage regularly scheduled assessments because they are less intimidating for the leader. If the team knows assessment is coming up,  it won’t feel like being taken to the principle’s office. That means you have to visit the group at least occasionally. But you will also rely heavily on the self-assessment of the small groups leadership team. Assess humbly. There is much you will not be able to see as an outsider, so work on assessment together with the leader.

Use the assessment tools

The key tool is the Small Group Feedback Form. Do an initial assessment to create a baseline. Then ongoing assessments track progress. Don’t forget to celebrate! Assessment can help you know when your leaders are succeeding.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Describe an intimidating evaluation or test you’ve faced. What made it tough?
  4. Read 2 Timothy 2:15 and Philippians 2:19-22. What standards does Paul use to evaluate Timothy? How does this compare to the three areas of assessment outlined in this lesson? (Compare: Qualities of Good Coaches.)
  5. What concepts must a small group leader understand in order to succeed?
  6. What happens in a group if leaders don’t comprehend our mission? If they don’t grasp our methods and tools?
  7. What motives must drive a small group leader in order to succeed?
  8. What happens in a group if leaders are not motivated about the purpose or the people?
  9. Look at the Small Group Leader Job Description. Which of the six “Tasks and Skills” areas do you find most challenging yourself? For each of the six, discuss what happens in a small group if leaders do not practice that skill.
  10. Why are regularly scheduled assessments important? What is the best way to assess a small group leader?
  11. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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