How do you evaluate a pastoral intern at the end of an internship?

As this round of pastoral interns moves to the end of the internship, I am constantly trying to think about new and helpful ways to evaluate their experience and growth.  We have been evaluating throughout the internship, but I am wanting to have ways to measure the full progress of these brothers from the beginning to the end.

We talk about desire of calling and how that has grown.  We discuss all the lessons they have learned sitting in pastors’ meetings and visiting widows.  We consider the books I have assigned to them and our lively discussions that follow.  And yet, I have discovered another form of evaluation that gives a very unique perspective and one I value very much:

“Ask the intern’s wife about what they have observed throughout the internship in her husband’s life.”

For those interns who are married and have children, which includes all three current interns of mine, this is a very effective way to get valuable feedback.  Part of the reason this is true is that a portion of the internship is always spent on being a faithful husband and father.  Here are some basic questions I ask of the intern’s wives:

1) What areas of growth in the tasks of ministry have you observed in your husband?

2) Does it appear your husband’s desire for the work of the ministry has increased or decreased?

3) What areas of growth and intentionality as a husband and a father have you observed?

4) What are the areas of growth that still needed to be addressed in his life?

5) Did this internship make you hopeful and more desirous of ministry for your husband, or discourage you and make you more fearful of the prospect?  Why?

Allow this form of evaluation not just work to give you more creative ideas to evaluate your interns for their benefit, but also be reminded that one of the best ways to discover areas of needed growth and maturity in a Christian man’s life comes through that man’s Christian wife.  A lesson I know too well and is a lasting mark I desire to leave on the hearts of these sweet brothers I have had the honor of calling my interns for the last four months.

Posted in Home and Family, Training for Ministry

How does a church minister to a coverted, sex offender?

I received many difficult questions at the workshop on Monday evening.  But, this one stuck out to me as especially difficult.  Here was the nature of the question from a pastor:

How do I and our church minister to a man who appears radically converted, desires to come to our church, but had been a convicted child molester and long-time sex offender?

Here are a few thoughts:

We should try to minister to a man as this, especially if he is converted.  No one should be turned away from our doors as Jesus was seen with the vilest of sinners.   This is what the gospel is all about!  However, you cannot ignore the “elephant in the room.”   Here are a few suggestions having faced this in comparable ways before:

1) Appoint a “host” for him while he is at church.  Hand pick a very reliable man whose sole job that day is to meet him outside in the parking lot, walk in with him, and be attached to this man’s hip.  Pick a host who is spiritually mature, gracious, who understands the importance of his role, but will not make him feel like a prisoner in church.

Explain to the offender attending that this is what this man’s role is and that he must be seen with him at all times.  Pick a host who will take him to talk with others and it will be a good way for this new guy to meet and converse with folks he might not otherwise feel comfortable with and vice versa.

2) Inform the church ahead of time in some way of what is happening (email, member’s meeting, etc), so they know you are taking strict precautions to protect the safety of the people and especially the children.  This allows the church as a whole to ”keep watch” in a loving way.

3) Inform all children’s workers of the situation weekly and report who the man’s “host” is for that week.  Allow them the freedom to ask questions as they feel the responsibility to protect their own children as well as the children in their room for that week.

4) One strike and your out.  There is no grace period for this man.  If he is found alone without his “host” once…that is it.  He needs to be placed in a position to be loved by the people, but must realize your responsibility as a shepherd before God to protect the sheep first and foremost.

5) Remind your people that this is what the gospel is all about.  Jesus died for the most wretched of sinners and we deserved the same punishment for our sins from our righteous and holy God as this man does for his rebellion against God and crimes against others.  If he is truly converted, you want your people to rejoice in the hope of the gospel more than fear for their children when they see this man coming.  Shepherding through teaching and example is how God by His Spirit will form that culture in your local church over time.

I praise God for the opportunity you have to remind your people of the gospel and how sufficient, powerful, and glorious the mercy of God is in Christ!  But, be wise also dear brother.  Know for sure the enemy is prowling like a lion in your midst desiring to use this situation to divide your church…or worse.  I pray the Lord gives you great wisdom, discernment, and grace as you attempt to care for this man and your people through him coming.

Posted in Discipleship

How did the Practical Shepherding Workshop go?

1932487_674727919231269_1840867781288940253_nI couldn’t be more pleased with how well the workshop went.  The hospitality from SBTS was wonderful and well done.  The PS staff did a great job.  Everything went smooth.  We had a good crowd including several walk-ins we were able to accommodate.  As you can see, we had a full room.  Even through the Q and A, everyone stayed engaged and hung in there into the late hour.

It was a great joy to meet the pastors who attended.  Other pastors connected with each other in fruitful ways.  Grateful to God for this encouraging start to this new facet of our ministry!

Posted in The Pastor's Soul

Where and when can I meet and talk with Brian Croft at T4G?

Just a note to say thank you for those of you who wrote me inviting me to a meal or coffee with you during the week of T4G.  I am torn as I would love to sit down with each of you and hear about your life, and family and ministry.  Unfortunately, the demands on my time during that week make me unable to schedule those individual meetings.  However, I would still love to meet each of you and talk with you a bit.  Here are some of the times I will be available to meet you and chat with you a few minutes:

- Monday evening @SBTS during the Practical Shepherding Workshop 6 pm – 10 pm.

- Wednesday afternoon @ the Practical Shepherding Exhibit booth during the long break 1 pm - 4 pm.

- Wednesday evening @ the Practical Shepherding Exhibit booth during the evening dinner break 6 pm – 8 pm.

- Thursday afternoon @ the Practical Shepherding Exhibit booth during the lunch break 12:30 pm – 2 pm.

I will look forward to meeting you!  Thanks for your understanding and effort.

See you next week, Lord willing,

Brian Croft

Posted in Promotion

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