In Who Told You You Could Preach?, the comedic musical video from Sean Plummer’s Church™ series, Lil Ricky and the Church Thugs offer a humorous glimpse into a not-so-comical experience nearly all churchgoers have had at one point or another.

We all know “that person” who thinks they are better at what they do than they really are. There’s the one who blames everyone else for their teams’ failures or shortcomings. Or maybe you know the one who wants to lead every song – and can’t sing worth a rusty penny. Or perhaps you know the one who is always complaining that he doesn’t get enough opportunities to preach, but doesn’t have any Biblical knowledge, or the ability to execute an effective sermon. There’s the person who always volunteers to cook for fellowship dinners, and always serves burnt, dried out chicken. Or there’s the teacher who enthusiastically talks about how great his Sunday School class was this morning, meanwhile all the students gather after class to exchange tips on how to stay awake in class.

The unfortunate thing that these folks all share in common is that everyone knows how difficult it is to be on the receiving end of their ministry – except them.

Look, I know this is pretty tough to discuss. People get really defensive when this subject is raised because nobody wants to consider that they may be “that person.” You begin to hear defenses like “well, I’m not singing for you anyway, I’m singing for the glory of God,” or “as long as I’m doing my best, God is pleased.”  This may (or may not) be true, but the Bible reminds us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but to think of ourselves with sober judgment (Romans 12:3).  Sometimes, we need a little help with the sober judgment part. 🙂

In a previous post, we talked about the importance of giving regular performance evaluations to your team members, so they will know what is expected of them and be able to gauge their accomplishments, progress, and success. Periodic performance evaluations also allow staff to ascertain what areas require improvement and are invaluable in determining the changing development needs of your staff.

Today, I want to encourage you to conduct regular self-evaluations to ensure you’re in the right position, performing at an excellent level, ministering to the people, and being effective in whatever it is you’re doing. Whether you’re a minister, pastor, administrator, or other church leader, you should always be striving to excel in the work of the Lord. That means that from time to time, you’ll have to make sure that the people you’re ministering to are (still) benefiting from your ministry.

The shame in continuing to do something you’re NOT good at is that you’re missing the opportunities to do what you are good at. The time you’re spending on the thing you’re not so good at could be spent honing your true craft. You’re sowing valuable seed that won’t even yield much fruit. And the people who need you to minister to them in that area, are missing out, too. Plus, there’s satisfaction in doing what you’re good at. It just feels good.

Three ways to ensure you’re not the guy Lil Ricky is singing (or rapping?) to in that video is:

1. Be humble and approachable – make sure that the people you’re serving feel comfortable talking to you about sensitive issues.

2. Ask your mentors, family, friends, and other people you trust to help you evaluate yourself. Ask for their feedback; ask them what they think you could improve and what they think you excel in. Ask for resource recommendations (classes, books, online communities, etc.).

3. Seek God. Make sure that what you’re doing is what you’re actually called – BY GOD – to do. Don’t just pursue your talents and what you perceive to be gifts; and don’t let other people push you into serving in areas where you don’t belong. Don’t wear out an old gift after you’ve been called to do something else. Seek God.

Bonus: Read the signs. In case you’re one of those people that others aren’t comfortable approaching, watch your “audience.” Try to read their facial expressions, reactions, posture and body language. Listen for clues in their feedback, and if you’re still not sure: ASK. (But don’t ask the ones that you know will sugarcoat or withhold the real assessment).