If evaluation of individual church board members has not occurred previously, then as chair you should introduce the concept and explain its value for their ministry together. This could be in the form of a discussion brief, which allows for debate but does not require any immediate decision. Further, it is probably wise to introduce first the idea of “board” evaluation, i.e. the evaluation of the collective board, before moving to a stage of individual board member evaluation.
If the board, as it engages the discussion brief, signals its willingness to pursue a collective board evaluation, then pursue that level of evaluation for the first year. Again, this can be done in several ways:
1. evaluation of individual meetings. For example, at the end of a meeting as chair ask a simple question such as “In what ways did we advance the mission of our church in our meeting?” Go around the table and ask each one to respond verbally. As you do this over the course of several meetings, you begin to build the expectation that evaluation is normal.
2. as chair quietly ask one of the board members to be evaluating the meeting as it is progressing. At the end of the meeting ask that board member to report his or her impressions as to the effectiveness of the board’s work during that meeting.
3. at the annual board retreat present a brief 5 – 7 item questionnaire that leads the board members to evaluate their work together over the past year in achieving the goals they set or in fulfilling their mandate as defined in the church bylaws. It could be a combination of both elements. At the next meeting of the board report in detail the results of the survey. The board will probably tell itself through the results where it needs to put effort in the coming year.
4. encourage the board next to select a ministry program for evaluation. This will require the board to develop the key criteria by which they will determine whether a ministry program is accomplishing what it needs to.