Thursday, December 09, 2010

Finding your sweet spot in ministry

I spent Wednesday with my UCCF colleagues being trained by James Lawrence from CPAS. It was a provoking day to think about how to help people find their ministry 'sweet spot'.
"A sweet spot is a place, often numerical as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution." (Wikipedia)
James kept us first focussed on the nature of Christian leadership as grace-founded servant heartedness rather than having to be an alpha-male personality.

He helped us think how various tools can help us to see who we are and how we might best do the things that we're made to do. We were given us a matrix to think about ourselves as leaders as a combination of innate talent (developed before adulthood), spiritual gifts neither of which we can do much about, then skills and knowledge which we can do things about, shaped by our temperament and our passions which shape the style and context of ministry. Fit these together and we're at our sweet spot for ministry, which is likely to be energising. I'm looking forward to following some of the leads he's given us, especially to think through our 'talents'.

As I think about my desire to train leaders, to strategise for mission, to see Christians discover freedom in Christ this excites me. Certainly I feel most alive when I'm doing those things - but do I have the skills and knowledge to excel in that? Are there other things I might better employ my energy in? Are there gifts I'm neglecting or which are under-developed - what about evangelism and prophecy, two gifts I'm pursuing at the moment?

All of this sits in a context where we all have to operate outside of our sweet-spot sometimes, and none of us can do everything ourselves which is why we need to operate in team contexts. We're pointed to some Gallup research of talents which identifies 32 talents, 20 of which relate to leadership - and yet the very best leaders only have about 12/20 of the leadership talents (and an average leader only 4) - team has to be the way forward!

He also gave us some useful thinking about how to deal with weaknesses, limitations and flaws - which again all of us have to live with. I want to be playing the best part I can to build the body, I want my team able to do that, I want our church to be operating effectively - to grow the church and bless our city. I want my home group doing that, I want to see students released for that. Character and convictions are key but there is more to think on too. 

As an aside, I found James to be an excellent trainer and felt myself learning from his content and his methodology and attention to detail.