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4 Frameworks for Church Service Review Meetings (and 20 Evaluation Questions!)

Regular evaluation of your weekend services should be a normal pattern for your leadership team. For us it happens during a Monday morning meeting were we look at what happened the day before and we also settle on the services for the coming weekend. This is an important system that we have in place because it allows us to stay on the same page and helps us catch quality improvements at an early stage. If there is a tough Sunday we know that we’re going to be taking time on Monday to talk it through. Regular service review also keeps us focused on improving the experience for our guests … we want to honor God by bringing our best to the table for them!

Here are four different approaches to service evaluation. As the needs of your church and leadership shift you’ll need to move around from one type of evaluation to another. Find one that seems to fit the needs of your church and make it happen!

  • Evaluating church servicesAutopsy Method // This approach attempts to diagnose what exactly happened during the service so everyone can understand it clearly. This can be particularly helpful when you are looking to address a number of issues that need to change. This approach requires a high level of trust among the team because it can naturally focuses on the negative of what took place.
    • Good // The team lists the things that went well during the service … it’s sometimes helpful to walk through the service order to make sure you are commenting on a wide variety of items.
    • Bad // Let’s get the junk out on the table! Remember to clearly articulate the problem with what happened and avoid attacking people.
    • Missing // Where in the service did we miss something that would have made it a better experience? In my experience this is the least used category but can often provide some stunning insights into where our services should go in the future.
    • Confusing // What happened during the service that didn’t make sense? How can we simplify an ask for the future? Did the language of a musical worship leader muddy up what we were attempting to communicate?
  • Future Focused // This method attempts to extract learning from a service to apply to the future. This approach can be particularly helpful when you are coaching new teams of leaders because it helps translate what did happened into what should happen in the future.
    • Keep // What happened yesterday that we want to repeat again and again? What are the positives that we can see doing in future services?
    • Stop // What happened that we want to make sure never happens again? What actions took away from what we were doing through the service?
    • Start // What did we miss doing that could have made the service even better? What should we add into these experiences in the future to take them to the next level?
  • Process Oriented // This approach attempts to focus on the systems behind services. These questions attempt to get at the “why behind the whats”. Because these questions don’t just focus on actions it requires a team that has been working together for a while.
    • Victories // Where were we “winning” during the service? The goal of this section is for the team to articulate what was happening in the lives of the people they were serving … not the actions taken during the service. This focuses the team on the impact the ministry is having in the lives of people.
    • Metrics // Balancing out the stories of individual life change … the metrics section is attempting to capture the overarching story of what is happening in the life of the church. The goal here is to move beyond just “numbers and noses” to metrics that articulate the spiritual dynamics of the church. (% of people moving into groups, % of first time guests attending)
    • Stucks // In this section each ministry area articulates areas that they are stuck in achieving their growth or development. Using the service as an illustration … the teams talk about the areas they need assistance or resources to get “unstuck.”
  • Appreciative Inquiry // This approach attempts to focus the leadership only on what was positive about the experience. Over the last year I’ve become more acquainted with this school of thought in change management and I see it’s deep value for us in church leadership. Here are some potential questions you could ask using this approach.
    • What made the service an exciting experience?  What gave it energy?
    • What moments during the service where the best we could offer to Jesus and our guests?
    • What was it about each team member that made it great? How did you uniquely contribute? How did you see God use other people?
    • What is the common mission or purpose that united everyone on the leadership during the service?  How can this continue to be nurtured?
    • In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of your services that you can recall that best illustrates this spirit of “being the best? How can we build on that?


  1. thanks for this. As we move to open our 3rd campus next week, we are changing out evaluation from a central meeting to campus specific meetings. Who do you suggest be a part of this type of evaluation?

    1. I would continue to look at doing some sort of evaluation centrally … at least for the first few months. You have the chance to learn from various teams implementing a similar experience in various locations … use that as a chance to learn from each other.

      Make sense?

      – Rich

      1. That does make sense. We will continue our “strategic” team meeting which includes 4 people that will look at our campuses overall, general issues, plans, direction, etc.

        We are planning to do our weekly campus specific evaluation meetings via video (Google Hangouts) and include the pastor, worship leader, tech director, and campus coordinator for each campus.

        Any red flags, suggestions, or insight into this plan?

  2. How long should the evaluation meeting be? Should “other” things that have no bearing on this meeting be discussed?I get impatient when this happens. I am a member of my church evaluation team meeting. Sometimes it seems like a “gripe” session. I do not like that. I do not like long meetings.

    1. Delrene!

      I don’t anyone likes griping or long meetings! 😉

      30 minutes a week on evaluation would be a great place to start … pairs nice with a 30 minute conversation about this coming Sunday!

      – Rich

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.