Humility and The Problem with All-Stars

Humility and The Problem with All-Stars

I’m a bit of a podcast junkie. And I wanted to share with you my favorite podcast episode I’ve listened to in a long time. This is not a Christian podcast, but the topic is as “Christian” as it comes—humility.

The podcast is the TED WorkLife Podcast with Adam Grant, and the specific episode is called The Problem with All-Stars. Grant is an organizational psychologist and the podcast “takes you inside some of the world’s most unusual workplaces to discover the keys to better work.”

In The Problem with All-Stars episode, Grant looks at humility, which he says is the hidden ingredient in great teams. The truths of this short podcast episode apply to all team contexts—workplace, sports teams, church staffs, and so much more.

How Shane Battier is Humble

The episode starts off with an interview with retired NBA player, Shane Battier. Here’s a little bit of a bio on Battier:

  • He’s the only basketball player to win both the high school and college national player of the year awards.
  • He’s a graduate of Duke University.
  • He won two championship rings with the Miami Heat (and also played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets).
  • His career stats won’t “wow” anyone, but low stats can be deceiving (which is largely the point of this episode).

Battier was the best of the best in high school and college. But, when he got drafted into the NBA, he realized everyone was much more talented than him. He was no longer the best. As a result, many focused more on his deficits than his strengths.

But Battier overcame the criticisms and became a central part of the Miami Heat when they won 2 NBA Championships in 2011-12 and 2012-13. The reason why he was a central part of the team’s success is because he asked himself this question:

How can I make my team better when I’m not the biggest star?

Heating Up on Humility

A little backstory will help. In 2010, the Miami Heat signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh. They joined Dwayne Wade (who was already on the Heat) to become the NBA’s first Super Team. In the press conference when James and Bosh announced their signings, James claimed the Heat would win as many as seven NBA Championships starting with the 2010-11 season.

To everyone’s surprise, the Heat didn’t win in 2010-11. When everyone wants to be the alpha dog, you have a problem.

That all changed when the Heat signed Battier. His goal was not to the best small forward in the NBA but to be the best small forward for his team and it made all the difference. He made everyone around him better and became known as the “No-Stats All-Star.”

Battier made others on his team more efficient and opponents less effective. He did it by setting picks, diving for loose balls, playing lockdown defense, and embodying a whole lot of enthusiasm and hustle. None of that shows up on the personal stat sheet but it does show up in the win column!

The Problem With All-Stars

In sports, we define star by the statistics on the court, says Michael Lewis, author of the book Moneyball and Blind Side. He goes on to say that you need other people to play a role other than the one who takes the shots all the time. Stars are overrated, and role players are underrated.

Grant goes on to talk about the idea of humility—being grounded and from the earth. When I think of humility, I think of the following:

  • John 3:30: He must become greater; I must become less (said by John the Baptist about Jesus).
  • Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Keep reading through verse 11—Jesus provides the perfect and ultimate picture of humility).
  • James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5: God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.

Grant and Battier go on to say that people who are humble demonstrate the following three actions:

  1. They recognize their own shortcomings and limitations and behave differently in response.
  2. They appreciate the strengths of others, give credit where it’s due, and highlight the team’s success over their individual achievements.
  3. And, they show openness to learning from others.

Humility is Contagious

Humility is contagious. When we spend time with others who embody humility, it rubs off on us. This makes everything and everyone around us better.

What would it be like if you and I practiced a humility that celebrated others over ourselves? What if we appreciated the strengths of others and gave credit away instead of trying to steal it and hog it for ourselves?

For me, this looks like celebrating the amazing speaking gifts of others on our church staff instead of coveting their talents and opportunities. Or, it might be me affirming the efforts of others on the team instead of craving the praise of man.

What is it for you? How can you better celebrate those around you and demonstrate humility?

This is what I want to do in ministry—make the team better and others better. Hopefully this is what you desire on your teams as well.

Reposted with permission. Read the original post here.

How To Manage Conflict And Stay Married In Ministry

How To Manage Conflict And Stay Married In Ministry

Every relationship — even a good one — has conflict. If you don’t know how to deal with it, how to resolve it, how to manage it, you can kill your relationship.

The Bible says conflict is caused by selfishness. James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?” (GNT). I am basically a selfish person. I think of me before I think of anybody else. And you do, too. I want what I want and you want what you want, and when these competing desires collide, that’s called conflict.

The night before I got married, my father-in-law sat down with us and said, “There are five areas where marriages usually have conflict: money, sex, in-laws, children, and communication.”

My father-in-law was a prophet. In our marriage we’ve gone five for five! We’ve hit every single one of them.

Some of you are in major pain right now. You are frustrated. You feel stuck in your relationship because you have argued about certain issues over and over with no resolution, much less reconciliation. You don’t know what to do.

If you’re going to pull together when conflict pulls you apart, you need to follow these five instructions.

1. Call on God for help

Pray about it. Before you go to the other person and talk to them about the problem, discuss it with God.

I challenge you to practice what I call venting vertically. Many people are skilled at venting horizontally, but venting vertically is when you go to God.

Conflict often occurs when we expect other people to meet needs that only God himself can meet in our lives.

One day you stood in front of a bunch of people and you said, “I do.” What you were really saying was, “I expect.”

You weren’t thinking about what you intended to do and the promises you were going to keep. You were thinking, “Good! All my needs are going to be met now! This person is the answer to my dreams and is going to fulfill me in every way.” There is no person alive who could possibly meet all your needs. Only God can do that.

Anger is a warning light that says, “I’m expecting somebody to meet my needs.” When I have a need for you to be on time and you’re late, or when I have a need for you to notice me and you don’t, I get angry. God says, “Why don’t you try talking to me about it first?” Instead of expecting your mate to meet all your needs, God wants you to look to him.

2. Confess your part of the conflict

Before you start attacking and blaming, you need to do a frank evaluation and ask yourself, “How much of this conflict is my fault?”

When you’re wrong, admit it. And when you’re right, shut up!

Jesus said this . . .

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

Matthew 7:3-5 (NLT)

Everybody has blind spots. Jesus says, “Before you start getting the sawdust speck out of your partner’s eye, why don’t you get the telephone pole out of yours?” Using exaggeration, he is saying to check yourself out first.

Marriage is a lifelong process of overcoming your differences. Each of us has an infinite capacity for self-deception. But the fact is, it’s not incompatibility. It’s selfishness and an unwillingness to change.

3. Convene a peace conference

Conflict does not resolve itself. It must be dealt with intentionally . . . deliberately. Conflict gets worse when you leave it alone. Hearts grow hardened and positions get solidified, and bridges get broken beyond repair. So you have to intentionally deal with the conflict.

The Bible is very specific about this. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus says, “If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God” (The Message).

It is impossible to worship with bitterness in your heart and unresolved conflict with others.

Postponed conflict only gets worse.

4. Consider your mate’s perspective

The secret of resolving conflict is understanding where the other person is coming from. The better you understand somebody, the less conflict you’re going to have, because you know how to deal with him or her.

How do you learn to understand someone? Listen. Listen more than you talk. Some of us get so anxious to make our point, to tell our side, to defend ourselves; we don’t even stop to listen to what the other person is saying or their point of view. It’s like the old cliché: “We must seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

The Bible says in Philippians 2:4, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (NLT).

When you’re angry, you’re preoccupied with yourself. But when you’re like Christ, you look to each other’s interest and not merely your own.

5. Concentrate on reconciliation, not resolution

There’s a very important difference. Reconciliation means to re-establish the relationship. Resolution means to resolve every issue by coming to agreement on everything.

You’ll discover there are some things you’re never going to agree on. I don’t care if you both love the Lord and are both dramatically in love with each other – there are some things you’re never going to agree on simply because God has wired us differently.

You’re not going to agree with everything your mate believes or thinks. But you can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s called wisdom. It is more rewarding to resolve a conflict than to dissolve a relationship.

Sometimes you need to seek professional help, and that’s okay. In fact, talking to a counselor is a healthy and positive choice to make. And you always need to talk to God and to each other.

Many marriage conflicts would be solved overnight if both the husband and wife would kneel before Jesus Christ and say, “We humble ourselves and humbly ask you to make this thing work. We submit our egos to you and our hurts to you. Jesus Christ, do what only you can do.”

Republished with permission. Read the original article here.

We Want to Hear Your Story

We Want to Hear Your Story

We love telling people about marriage and the power of the church to impact marriages for the better. We talk about it a ton—on our blog, our podcast, through videos, and at conferences.

And people certainly listen to us. But there’s only so many different ways we can tell our story. We realize that this message means a lot more if it’s being told by more people.

So we want to hear from you. What does marriage ministry mean to you? What stories can you tell about the impact that marriage ministry has made in your church?

Send Us Your Videos

We’re looking for church leaders who are willing to shoot a quick video and send it to us to be shared with others.

Think you’re up for the task? Here’s what we’re looking for.

What should the video be of?

You! Specifically, you talking to the camera about one (or more) of these things.

  • Why you started working at your church
  • A story of the impact your marriage ministry has had
  • How you first heard about MarriedPeople
  • How MarriedPeople has helped your ministry
  • Your favorite marriage resource
  • Why other churches should think about using MarriedPeople
  • A word of encouragement to other church leaders

How can I shoot the video?

Whatever way works for you. These days, everyone has a high-powered camera in their pocket, so shooting the video on your phone is perfectly acceptable. Just be sure to turn the phone sideways (landscape) to remove those black bars when the video gets shared online.

You can also use the webcam on your computer, if it has one. The most important thing is to make sure you’ve got enough light and you’re shooting in a quiet place. We can’t use any videos where we can’t see or hear you!

How long should the video be?

Ideally, about 2-3 minutes long. But it can be as long as it takes you to tell your story.

How do I share the video with you?

There are so many ways, but here are the best suggestions:

Be sure to include your name and what church you’re from. We want to make sure we know who you are, especially in case we want to send you a special treat!

What are you going to do with the videos?

We’re going to share them with other church leaders who need to hear them! That means uploading them to our website and social media platforms. We may even feature some at our conferences.

By sharing your video with us, you’re giving us permission to share it publicly. But we also don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. You can always contact us if you change your mind.

We also reserve the right to edit the videos for content or format, as needed. But don’t worry—we’ll be sure to keep the spirit of what you’re trying to say.

Why should I send you my video?

  • The prestige of being featured on the MarriedPeople channels
  • To help other churches find out about us and do their part to help marriages
  • Because we just might send you some cool MarriedPeople swag if we like your video

Are you ready to share your story with other churches?

What a Strong Marriage Ministry Should Look Like

What a Strong Marriage Ministry Should Look Like

I thought I’d write a different kind of post. I’d like to sketch out what I think a church with a strong marriage ministry would look like, and then I’d invite you to share your thoughts, in the hope that this could be a resource page or a springboard for discussion for churches that want to be more intentional about supporting the marriages.

A Strong Marriage Ministry Leverages Marriage Mentors

Pastors should not be the main focus of a marriage ministry. A pastor may not be gifted at counseling, which is OK. After all, Pastors were hired to primarily lead and preach. There are limited pastors at each church. They can’t do all the work.

A strong marriage ministry involves couples from the congregation. If a church is going to support marriages, it needs to find a way to forge relationships where couples can talk about important issues. I believe is the best vehicle for this is mentorship.

  • A mentor couple should be a couple whose marriage is strong and has been married at least ten years.
  • Marriage mentors are often better equipped for pre-marital counseling than pastors, who may not have the time. It’s often better to talk to a couple than just a pastor.
  • Mentors should be trained on how to ask questions that encourage discussion. Most breakthroughs come because the couple is able to talk through issues.
  • Mentors are not counsellors. The role of a mentor is not to help couples solve problems but instead to raise important issues for discussion and to guide conversations and prayers. If counseling is necessary, the couple should then be referred elsewhere.
  • Mentors do not need to have all the answers; they need to be equipped to ask the right questions.
  • The church should set up a system where it’s easy to get a mentor couple if you need one.

Choose Marriage Mentors Based on Relationships, Not Past

We have a tendency to promote leadership that looks one way—Christians their whole life; always chose well; never rebelled; still married to their first spouse.

However, the strongest marriages are not necessarily those that fit the “ideal” Christian mold. If congregation members are to relate to marriage mentors, then there should be some diversity in faith journeys among the mentors. While all should have solid marriages now, it’s OK if some people were not born in the church, and became Christians after a difficult faith journey.

It’s even best if some marriage mentors are blended families. Let’s have the marriage mentors resemble the congregation, rather than assuming that those who “look” the most Christian automatically have the strongest marriages.

A Strong Marriage Ministry Flows From an Authenticity Culture

The culture of a church is passed on, top down. At the church my daughters attend, the senior pastor is very open about some of the mental health battles his family has faced, so the church family can pray for them.

At the last song of the service, those who need extra prayer are always encouraged to come up to the front, without judgment. It’s never seen as a sign of weakness. People will not open up to marriage mentors unless the church does not punish those who admit failings. If churches want to rescue marriages, then people need a safe place to admit when they have problems. If they don’t have that, no one says anything until the marriage implodes.

The more we deal with the messiness of life, the more people can admit problems when things do get messy. If no one can dare admit an issue without appearing strange, then no amount of marriage programs will accomplish much.

Leaders Must Have Strong Marriages Themselves

It’s a biblical principle that one shouldn’t serve on church leadership unless one has strong family relationships at home. If the church wants to send a message that marriage is important, then, it must choose leaders that have good marriages. Even if those couples do not directly take part in marriage mentorship, the leadership of the church must still model good marriages.

  • Leader couples should always speak well of each other
  • The couples should have no whisperings of impropriety
  • The couple should support one another in their giftings, rather than the wife seen as simply an appendage or servant of her husband.
  • There must be a “team” feel to every ministry couple.

The latter point is especially important. In churches where women are seen more as servants of their husbands, the divorce rate is far higher than in churches where marriage is seen as more teamwork. Researchers have concluded that this is because women don’t feel entitled to speak up about marriage problems when they first occur, because they believe that to identify issues would be seen as unsubmissive. After years of dysfunctional behaviour, the wives often throw in the towel.

If leaders demonstrate grace and care for one another in a team framework, then church members are more likely to feel free to raise issues when they crop up, rather than letting them fester.

A Church That Supports Marriage Does Not Overburden Those Who are Married

Frankly, those who are involved in church as leaders are often burned out with no time for their families. If the leaders don’t have strong marriages, then they can’t support other people’s marriages. Too many ministries in churches require too much of people in their 30s and 40s.

A church that values marriage will:

  • Ensure that no one is expected to be at church activities more than one night a week
  • Examine their ministries to make sure that they aren’t “make work” or “make busy” events. Choose only events that feed the community and that reach those outside the church. Lower the scope and expectations of some of those events
  • Encourage those in their 50s and 60s to do more of the child care, Sunday school, and nursery ministry to give parents a break
  • Host more adult mixer activities, like board game nights or movie nights, rather than always dividing by gender so that couples can do more things together

A Strong Marriage Ministry Supports Couples

Sometimes churches shy away from offering couples’ events because we don’t want single people to feel left out. Yet marriage is the bedrock of families and the community. It is not taking away from single people to sometimes offer something for couples.

A Strong Marriage Ministry Addresses the Tough Topics

What is it that tends to rip apart marriages? Money and sex. Yet few churches address either very well from the pulpit.

Before we blame pastors for this, let me say that I don’t think much of this should be addressed from the pulpit. There are children and teens in church; single people; divorced people.

While sex can be addressed in general ways, you can’t get nitty gritty on a Sunday morning. There is a time and place, and that is neither the time, nor the place, for anything that explicit.

With the money issue, too, what people really need is practical help on managing debt and using credit cards. Those sorts of things aren’t handled well from the pulpit, either. You need a workshop. What I would suggest is that the church go out of its way to make resources available on tough topics, remembering that if the church doesn’t address them, the world will fill the void.

  • Encourage Bible study groups to do a study on a tough topic
  • Encourage membership to sites like Covenant Eyes, which allows accountability and filtering for computers, phones and tablets to help prevent porn addictions
  • Download Covenant Eyes’ book Fight Porn in Your Church, and have all leaders read it
  • Share through social media, Pinterest boards, men’s and women’s Facebook pages, or newsletter lists great articles about sex, marriage, money, and other issues
  • Host financial planning seminars and good financial management seminars. Have debt counsellors available for couples who need help

A Strong Marriage Ministry Is Focused on Wholeness, Not Marriage

Finally, a strong marriage ministry is focused on God’s heart for us—that we all be transformed into the likeness of His Son. A strong marriage ministry is not focused on making sure that all marriages stay intact.

That may seem like a loaded statement. But where I see churches err most often is that they are so scared that a marriage will fall apart that they fail to call people to wholeness.

Churches must be able to identify toxic things that will destroy a marriage—porn use, addictions, emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. When these issues pop up, the emphasis must be on healing these issues, not healing the marriage. True relational healing can only happen once the underlying toxic things have been properly dealt with. But we’re often too scared to deal with toxic issues because they’re so huge and they threaten the marriage. Instead we try to paper over them.

Churches must be better at supporting those in difficult marriages and calling sinners to repentance. Not every marriage problem is a communication problem. Yet we often treat them as such—telling people to learn each other’s love language or to learn to talk more. Some problems are caused by a huge sin, and those problems are often one-sided. Not every marriage issue has two parties at blame.

Until churches can start calling a spade a spade and calling people to something more, while supporting the hurting spouse, no marriage ministry will ever be effective because you will be undermining the authenticity of your witness.

How Strong is Your Marriage Ministry?

If you’re talking about this article as a leadership community, here are some questions to ask. Rate each question on a scale of 1-5, which will give your church a score out of 75. This may provide some insight on where your efforts should first focus as you grow a strong marriage ministry.

  1. Does our church have “marriage mentors”?
  2. Do the couples that we believe have strong marriages all fit that “ideal Christian” mold? Could we be missing some strong marriages because we have preconceived notions of what a strong marriage will look like?
  3. Is the weight of marriage ministry resting primarily on our pastor?
  4. Do those struggling with pornography in our church have an obvious, well-advertised place to get help?
  5. If a couple needed marriage help, or a person wanted an accountability partner, is there an easy way to access that help?
  6. Looking at our church leadership, including the board(s), paid staff, and ministry coordinators, how overburdened are they? How are their marriages?
  7. Is teamwork a hallmark of the marriages among our church leadership?
  8. Do leaders in our church regularly speak well of their spouses and encourage their spouses’ spiritual giftings?
  9. Looking at those aged 25-45 in our church, how much of the practical, hands on responsibility for ministries falls on their shoulders? How much falls on those aged 45-65? Is this a healthy balance?
  10. Do we have a culture where people can safely admit that they are struggling without judgment?
  11. Does our church handle sex in a healthy way? Do our small groups, couples’ ministries, or single-sex study groups feel comfortable talking about it?
  12. If couples are having major debt issues, do they know where to go for help?
  13. Have we had low-cost, affordable marriage events (either couple events or single-sex teaching events) at our church in the last year?
  14. Do we have a network of trained Christian counsellors to whom we can refer couples in trouble?
  15. Do we regularly refer couples who are dealing with toxic issues, rather than trying to deal with issues of that magnitude when we may not be trained for it?

What works at your church with marriage ministry? What doesn’t? Let’s help each other!

For a downloadable guide of these criteria, along with an assessment tool to see how your church ranks on marriage ministry, head over to Sheila’s original post.

Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 25 years and happily married for 20! She loves traveling around North America with her hubby in their RV, giving her signature “Girl Talk” about sex and marriage. She’s written eight books about sex and marriage.

6 Things Marriage Teaches You About Leadership

6 Things Marriage Teaches You About Leadership

I once spent a day with a group of ministry friends and mentors. All of whom have been leading their organizations for a long time. We had a heartfelt conversation about the challenges of leading in the same organization for most of our adult lives.

As I processed our day together, I realized there are common denominators between leadership and marriage. Most of us try to make our relationships work out, both personally and organizationally. And it’s not easy.

As you read this, know this post comes out of my experience. I realize many marriages don’’t make it. I realize that I will have a hard time understanding those dynamics. I’’ve been married to my wife Toni for 23 years. We have not always had an easy marriage, but we are both so thankful that we decided to work through the issues.

Similarly, I’’ve been in leadership with many of the same people for 18 years in the same community. It hasn’’t always been easy. But we’’ve seen some incredible things together. While these reflections come out of my personal experience, I offer them in the hopes that they help us all filter through the challenges of life and leadership.

1. There is no such thing as casual leadership

As much as we live in a culture where casual sex has become normal for many people, it doesn’’t produce strong or healthy relationships. Similarly, there is nothing casual about leadership.

Like a healthy relationship, it takes work, effort and commitment over the long haul. As much as we try to make things easier and easier in our culture, leadership will remain challenging by its very nature. Just like great relationships—it will always take work, effort and commitment.

2. You need to choose between serial commitment and long-term commitment

Someone once told me that commitment in our culture has shifted from life-time monogamy to serial monogamy; you’’re with someone exclusively for a few years until you move on.

Take a look around you. Many leaders approach leadership the same way. They’’re with an organization for 3-5 years, and then they move on.

I’’m not saying that’’s always a bad idea. But most of the people who make significant impact in an organization stay at least a decade. If you think about most ministry leaders you admire and who have transformed their organizations and communities, most have been there their entire lives.

3. It’’s easier to leave than it is to work through your issues

This is the gut wrenching part. Every leader I know who has been in leadership for a long time has been tempted to leave, tempted to pursue other interest and hit cruise control…. In other words, been tempted to have an affair on what might be their real calling.

Very few couples who make it over the long haul do so because they have “no issues”. They stay when it’s easier to leave.

4. There will be some joyless seasons

It’’s not all dancing and singing all the time. Every leader I know who is in long term leadership has either had to scale significant organization issues or even personal crises. God uses dark nights of the soul to grow us and shape us.

But here’’s the promise. If you’re being faithful, your emotions eventually catch up to your obedience.

5. Wise people realize that they are the problem

Many relationships fail because one partner says the other partner is the problem. I lived like that in my marriage and in my leadership for a season until I realized that I’’m the problem. In fact, the longer you stay in a relationship or leadership, the more you will have to come to terms with the grinding truth that you are the cap on progress.

That’’s why serial relationships and serial leadership is so wide-spread. Leave soon enough and you never have to look in the mirror. It’s always someone else’s fault.

Wise people understand that embrace that they are the problem. I tell myself almost daily that I am the problem in leadership where I serve, and that potentially God might work a solution through me.

Wise people also seek help in identifying their blind spots and problems by gather mentors, counselors and friends around them to help them spot their issues. They are also wide open to hearing about problems from the people they work with.

6. There is certain joy that only happens after years of being together

When you are able to work through your issues in a marriage, everything gets better. There’s a certain joy that comes in being with the same person for 23 years. We know things about each other that no one else can know. We can read each other better than anyone else can read us. The deep pleasure in simply being together grows every year. There’s an intimacy that only time can deliver that is almost hard to put into words.

That’s one of the things I love about working with some of the same people for years and years. There are stories whose mere mention brings a smile to everyone’’s face. The trust runs deep. And there’’s a joy in knowing you’v’e been in this together for so long and it’’s making a difference.

So what’s your experience? Do you see parallels between love, marriage and leadership? What are you learning?

Reposted with permission. Originally posted here.

How I Discovered My Sweet Spot in Leadership

How I Discovered My Sweet Spot in Leadership

My ninth year as Director of Premarital Ministry was my best year ever. Our ministry grew like crazy. We were having a impact in both our church and in the community.

Then came my tenth year in ministry.

Our leadership team gave me the opportunity to increase my leadership capacity. The downside would be leaving the job I loved in the marriage ministry. After much prayer and consideration, I accepted the offer.

Seven months after taking on the new role, I moved back to marriage ministry. Outside looking in, it might have appeared as though I failed. But these job transitions have been among the best things that have ever happened to me. In the process, I learned a few things about myself:

1. I’m a better soldier than a general

In other words, I am better at executing a plan than directing and crafting the plan. Give me a direction and I’’ll execute the heck out of it, but I’m more wired for others to direct the course. In my moments of insecurity, I somehow believe the general is more valuable in God’’s eyes than the soldier.

While the world and the church may more highly esteem the general, God values each one. He loves us all the same and doesn’’t value one ministry role more than the other. Looking for evidence? See the cross. Romans 5:8 says: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” There is no distinction: equal need for a Savior, equal recipients of His love.

2. I learned how I’m wired

I like going deep in one area of ministry (marriage) rather than going wide and less deep. Rather than leading a large slice of the pie, I do better with one narrow (yet highly significant) sliver of the pie.

I’’d rather lead one area up close than many areas from a distance. No one grows up wanting to be a marriage pastor, but I am so thankful this is the area I get to serve and use my gifts.

3. I gained a better respect for those different than me

I learned to respect the skill set required for senior pastors, campus pastors, or ministry directors who lead multiple, large teams. I relearned that God gives different gifts to different people for different purposes, but all for His glory and for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

I was reminded that God chooses for some to be an ear, some to be a foot, and some to be the colon. All are necessary for the body to function in the way He desires and designs.

4. I learned this all could change in the future

I wouldn’’t be surprised if at some point down the road, I move to another role, either as a campus pastor or maybe even another job at another church. I sure hope not, but it wouldn’’t surprise me.

I hope I’’m not the same person in five years that I am right now. I pray God will continue to grow and sanctify me in whatever way He wishes.

Ask Yourself These Questions

Shifting gears to you: How are you wired? What are your gifts? Are you in your sweet spot in leadership? Ask yourself some honest questions:

  • Do you think some gifts are more valuable than others?
  • Do you covet a role higher in the org chart?
  • If so, is it for the right reasons (because it fits your gifts and skills) or for the wrong reasons (more money, more power, more worldly esteem)?
  • Are you being faithful where you are right now or are you waiting for the next opportunity to come your way?

Ask others you work with if they think you’re in the right spot. Ask your boss for his or her thoughts on your ministry sweet spot. Ask how you can grow, and when they respond, be teachable, humble and don’t be defensive. If you’’re married, ask your spouse the same questions you asked your boss. Again, don’’t be defensive!

In retrospect, I don’’t think I should have changed roles. I don’’t like change, and the last year has been a year with a fair amount of transition. But, I have learned much in the process and I have gained a much greater perspective on how the Lord has fearfully and wonderfully made and designed me.

Reposted with permission. Read the original blog post here.

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