I had my first Ministry Review today - my first proper professional review since I was a curate. It was an interesting process which involved filling in a form and collecting statements from three colleagues/church members. It wasn't as scary as the questionnaires I had to do for DSL2 but it did provide an opportunity for a thorough reflection on my work in Watling Valley and MK.
The final stage of the process was a meeting today with Archdeacon Karen at which we discussed what I've been doing, what progress I have made, what priorities I should set for the coming year and any other comments that Karen wanted to make.
In many ways it was an affirming process, but also challenging since it required me to ask myself a number of pertinent questions in a fairly methodical way. At the end of the meeting supporting documents were shredded and a simple summary form was filled in - for future reference.
It was worth doing and I'm really glad that we've got a proper process of review under way. It will pay off in the long run. On the other hand, I do feel for the people who will have to set aside a huge amount of time to make it happen. This is actually a fairly costly exercise in terms of professional time and admin support so I hope some thought will be given into the long term implications.
Of course, this is part of an overall trend towards using ministry for nurture and support: bishops and archdeacons use their time to supervise and nurture clergy who in turn empower lay people - who attempt to nurture the faith of those around them. This is all good - but requires a different approach to ministry and the institutions that support it...