Monday, February 28, 2011

Accountability and Evaluation in the Church

In a small country town, a church association of men between the  ages 40 and 50 meet regularly to direct  the functions of the parish. Named after the first Korean martyr, the association has been a great help to the Church. Besides the work of the Church, they often get together to eat and drink; so much so that the families of a few of the members complained because they stayed out late to drink, neglecting their families.

Frequently, the group would get together to fraternize without  any special purpose. When a parish event or finances were involved, there would be good attendance and lively discussion. However, when it  came to Gospel values or their mission as Christians, they said little. The place of the Church in the greater society and what the signs of the times demanded of them were not part of their discussions. A priest from the diocese deals with this problem in the bulletin for priests this month.

This past autumn  they had their parish field day;  they used the  neighboring grammar school grounds. The men's group took responsibility for the event and did a good job. It was the men who were involved, the women and the older people were mostly spectators. And again this year there were complaints for making too much noise with the speakers.  At the end of the day they got together for a meal and drinks.  There was a great deal of talking about what happened but no critique of what they did or what changes would be necessary for the future. Rarely would there be an evaluation of any event to improve if for the next time.

It is  good to have a successful event and to enjoy it, but at the same time it's important to see if the religious purposes  have been accomplished: To see what was boring, what was well done, what has to be changed. Were all able to participate? Did they leave any  out  at the event? Did all behave in the proper way during the event?

Although the Church has many events and activities, the writer feels  we have little evaluation to determine how successful they have been.  It is for this reason that despite the events and activities their effect on faith life, on our way of living, and on our society has been negligible. There is a need to have programs to alert us to what the possibilities are, to see and learn from others. Instead, we listen and do what we are told and follow age-old habits--that's easy. But gathering those involved, examining what was done with new eyes, evaluating and being accountable--that  does not come easy.