This week our theme has been strengths and weaknesses. We introduced it on Monday and talked about it on our podcast on Wednesday, outlining eighteen reasons why they both make our ministry what it is. Now, there are two final steps you must take to leverage both your strengths and your weaknesses.
The first step is to provide a crystal clear answer to these two questions:
Maybe you've never actually put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to list them. You may need a close friend or spouse to help you with this.
Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses. Having them is not the question – you have both! The question is, what, exactly, are they? So list the top three. How about this, I’ll go first – deal?
Here are mine:
1) Relationality. I am a highly relational person. I connect easily and put people at ease in my presence.
2) Communication. I know how to communicate with people in small and large groups.
3) I have the gift of service. I love to serve people and help others.
1) Administration. I am not a good organizer of details. I live in the moment and tend to forget last hour.
2) I am a people pleaser. This is the dark side of the gift of service. I like to make others happy.
3) I often lack sustained focus or follow-through. I lose interest, get busy with something else, and drop projects before they are completed.
There you go. That’s me. The good, bad, and ugly. (well, mostly ugly…) Now, where are your lists? C’mon, just take a couple minutes and list those six areas.
As I look at my six, it occurs to me that I probably should find out what to do about them! What should I do with my strengths? What should I do about my weaknesses?
This brings us to the second step: Figure out how both of those lists inform what you do. If we don’t understand how those things affect us, we will never prioritize our lives in ways that build up the Kingdom of God, and bring us fulfillment and joy.
When I was a young pastor, I had no idea I had any weaknesses, and thought that anything that had to do with ministry, must be a strength of mine. In fact, I never considered my weaknesses, nor had I ever doubted that I was strong in every ministry area.
When someone would point out a weaknesses or flaw to me, or suggest that I might not be good at some aspect of ministry, I would get defensive. I truly believed that if those critiques were true, they threatened my staying power in ministry.
So, step two, what to do about them? Let’s answer in a very general way, and then you can apply it to your specific strengths and weaknesses.
First, you should work on your strengths, and in your strength areas. These are the areas where you are already naturally good, and can get really great if you work on them.
Second, you should bring others around you who are strong in your weak areas, and let them help you. After all, you are naturally not good in these areas, and you will likely never be great in them. Remember, this is how God wired you, so get others involved and lean on them.
I work on loving and caring for people, my public and private communication, and serving and helping others. I am really good in these areas. At the same time I try to find others to help me organize and plan. I try to have the people closest to me alert me when they see me caving in to others, just to please them. And I build teamwork with others who will insist I follow through to the end of a project.
Go ahead and list your strengths and weaknesses – investing effort and work in your strength zones, and allowing others to shore up your weaknesses.
Finally, rejoice in the way God made you! David said “fearfully and wonderfully” about how we were made (Psalm 139) and that God knows us fully, because he made us. Nothing is hidden from him. If he had wanted me to be a wiz-bang administrator, he would have made me one! Well, I’m not one, and that’s okay.
The way God designed you is okay too, in your 200church, with the people you have, for such a time as this.
How have you seen God use both your strengths and your weaknesses in your 200church ministry?
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