New Tool to Help Clergy Get Feedback

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The Lewis Center has worked with hundreds of clergy, and we know that clergy want to improve. But often they do not feel they have the necessary information or tools. Many understand that the challenges of the church and the world have changed since they finished seminary, but they do not always get the most helpful feedback in order to improve. You may have heard the wise slogan adapted from a cereal commercial, “Feedback is the breakfast of leaders.”

The LPLI is an online assessment instrument that integrates a pastor’s self-appraisal with the feedback of a series of “observers” to provide comprehensive input for improvement and growth in ministry.

The Lewis Center for Church Leadership has developed a tool to help clergy get just the feedback they need for such growth. The Lewis Pastoral Leadership Inventory (LPLI) is designed especially for clergy. There are many very good leadership inventories, but most are based on business executive leadership practices. Many clergy have said that while they can learn from them, in the end, the surveys are based on something other than their tasks as pastors.

So the Lewis Center set out to develop an instrument that would use the same rigor in development that the secular inventories use, but would base it on the life and practice of pastors in congregations. The Lewis Center has spent over two years developing and refining two pilot versions that have been field tested with almost 1,500 clergy.

The LPLI is an online assessment instrument that integrates a pastor’s self-appraisal with the feedback of a series of “observers” to provide comprehensive input for improvement and growth in ministry. Participants receive a personalized leadership profile identifying strengths and weaknesses as seen by them and others. The results can be used for self-discovery, leadership feedback, facilitating conversations, and planning continuing education.

The LPLI covers seventy-five criteria of effectiveness in ministry. These measures were developed based on a three-fold definition of effectiveness in ministry that focuses on: 1) character, 2) competence, and 3) contribution. These categories and the specific criteria were compiled from definitions and standards of effectiveness developed across many denominations and judicatories, with input from church leaders and theological educators.

The LPLI can be used by individual clergy. Also, judicatories can use the LPLI in a number of ways—from publicizing its availability and, where possible, providing financial assistance for clergy desiring to utilize the LPLI, to making it possible for all the clergy in their region to take the inventory. There are significant discounts available for multiple purchases. For more information about this new clergy leader development resource, go to www.lpli.org.

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About Author

Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.

Lovett H. Weems Jr. is senior consultant at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, distinguished professor of church leadership emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, and author of several books on leadership.


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