Reviewing, reflecting on your progress, celebrating and taking a sabbath are all things that take time and can be seen as competing with the activity of doing a project.
They are however, vital for long term progress and sustainability, refreshing vision and avoiding burnout.
Use these resources to pause and listen to God, before walking with Jesus on the next step of your journey.
Even if your project has a clear deadline to meet its objectives, you don’t need to wait until the end of the process to start evaluating. At regular points throughout the life of any project, it can be hugely beneficial to regularly review your progress. Ask yourselves three key questions:
Are we doing what we set out to do?
Are we making a difference?
Can we be using our skills, experience and money more effectively?
Asking yourselves these questions on a regular basis, and checking your actions against your original mission statement, gives you an opportunity to change and adapt.
A key principle in asking all these questions is to involve as many different interested groups as possible such as the beneficiaries, volunteers, staff, local council or statutory bodies. As far as possible it is really good to get the beneficiaries involved in not only gathering the information but also analysing it and drawing conclusions about how the project is done.
Don’t be afraid to move on. Sometimes things flourish and other times they die. Some projects run successfully for a few years then peter out; we’re okay with that, as when they end it gives space for something new to grow.
Bill Shaw, 174 Trust
Regardless of the outcome of your project, it is always important to look at what you have achieved and celebrate. God will have been at work. Keep your church and the wider community up to date with the successes but also what didn’t go as well or as you planned. Allow your team the space to talk about what they are proud of, as well as to reflect on the challenges and pray about them.
Ask yourselves how you can demonstrate your project’s value to your church. Doing this can really help embed it into your church life and so provide long term impetus to keep going.
ASK WHAT IS NEXT
If your project was successful and you achieved your objectives and saw real, tangible change in your community, is it something you can continue to do? Is it something that can develop and grow to help more people and expand the vision of your group?
Is it sustainable to continue and grow? Can your core church group still commit to the time and resources needed to keep it going?
What if your project didn’t work the way you had hoped? Don’t be discouraged. Failure is so often the bedrock of success and you can transform this experience into a positive by taking a proactive position. What could we have done better? Did we approach the problem the right way?
Even if your primary project goal wasn’t achieved, consider how the experience has affected your group and your church spiritually? Have you seen your reach grow by getting out into the community? Have you been given opportunities to speak and pray with others outside of the church? Have you felt closer to God by living Jesus’ example?