Here’s what I try to do when it comes to doing staff reviews.

Pave the Way

First, write the into the “Terms of Hire.” This is the document that accompanies the job description that outlines the details of pay, hours, employment status, expected working days (even hours if appropriate) and special events, termination rights and process, as well as a schedule of reviews.

Second, plug the reviews into your calendar as far out and as many as you can.

Do the Review

Now, I don’t really have a form that I follow, however, I’m always sure to do or ask the following.

Showing Care

Open the floor to him/her right away. Allow them to speak and be heard. Show humility in receiving any feedback and a willingness to improve myself or our environment for his/her benefit as much as is feasible.

Questions about his/her experience. While this section is intended to be about them talking and me listening, I still offer “what about …” and “I noticed …” statements that might help give him/her permission to bring up a difficult issue. These could be moments where I observed tension rising, frustration being expressed, stress increasing, conflict with another person, etc. It’s a way for me to bring it up for discussion but under the ospice that I’m listening first and have concern for his/her well-being above my own concerns.

  • So how’re ya feeling about your job? Are you enjoying your role and what you’re doing?
  • Anything you want to bring up but just don’t really know how or feels awkward for you?
  • How’s it going with the people? Anything you want to talk about regarding other staff? Is your working relationship with them going well? How about communications? Are you getting what you need from them?
  • How about me? Are you getting what you need from me? How do you feel about our working relationship? Do you ever feel any tension with me or frustration?

Questions that might help us move forward.

  • Is there anything you’d like to see be different or better?
  • Is there anything you’d like to get more of from me or other staff?
  • Is there anything you’d like to change about our expectations of you?

Job Description

Review job description and terms of hire.

  • Walk through entire job description. Make comments from about my observations being sure to praise and compliment thoroughly and often.
  • Whenever I come across an expectation that isn’t being met …
    • First I ask myself if this expectation is too unreasonable for their stage of development in this job. Because the learning curve is always so high, it usually takes a long time for the person grow into meeting all the expectations.
    • Then I’ll make kind-hearted observations (“you know, I’ve noticed this part has been kinda hard” , “I noticed that this hasn’t been very easy for you” , “seems like maybe this one is something you’ll grow into more as time goes on and you get more comfortable in your role and with the people” , etc.)
    • If it’s an expectation that needs to be filled sooner than later and has the risk of causing conflict or hindering the progress of the ministry, I’ll find a way to let them know the value and importance of the expectation in a non-anxious, differentiated way.
  • Walk through the “terms of hire”
    • reminding both of us of what it was to which we agreed at hiring
    • noting any changes and allowing him/her to express any thoughts or feelings about those changes
    • asking if there’s anything they’d like to see change (don’t promise or agree to any changes until thoroughly processed with Lead Pastor)


  • Restate, paraphrase everything you heard them say and express
  • Restate, summarize observations

Collaborative Goals

Discuss together what goals we have for moving forward

  • “so what are some of our goals now moving forward?”
  • “I know my goals are …”
  • “How about you? What do you think?”


Close your time with a prayer that expresses your …

  • Thankfulness for his/her role in the ministry, what he/she has to offer, his/her partnership with us?
  • Praise for the work that God is doing through him/her and all the good things he/she is doing
  • Requesting God’s blessing on and guidance for his/her ministry
  • Requesting God’s guidance for me as I support him/her, care for him/her, give direction, etc.

This gives you a glimpse into how I do them. Hope it’s helpful!

Author: Jim Murphy

Associate Pastor | NextGen Ministries Covenant Church, Bemidji, MN

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