Theme #5: Lack of Permission for Personal Development and Care

(This is one of a five part series on responding to thematic issues affecting member care providers and cross-cultural worker’s health and effectiveness. You can read the intro.)

Some Assumptions
I bring into this topic an assumption. That assumption is that God’s redemptive process never ceases.

As I use the phrase “personal development and care,” I am using it as an expression of intentionally leaning into the reality of God’s ongoing redemption.

God seeks to  draw us ever deeper into his love. As we grow deeper in that communion, we become like the One we are communing with. Transformation takes place. From that transformation the possibility of greater missional fruitfulness can happen as well.

We are whole beings and seek integration. Thus, we seek to be intentional about growth emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and professionally.

With these assumptions in hand, it is imperative that we are ever responsive to God’s ongoing redemptive activity. A key way of doing that is to intentionally design ways and means that facilitate growth. That requires time, money, energy…..and that is where the rub is.

Simple Mathunnamed
My math works like this:

Spiritual growth + emotional growth + professional growth = personal development = relational maturity* (with God  and others) —> which makes for the possibility of greater missional influence.

*(Maturity is always exposed in the context of relationship. In other words, as we grow our capacity to receive and convey love increases.)

IF this is good math, then personal development is an essential ingredient of missional accomplishment. That requires time, money, focus, and permission. Permission is self-granted and it is organizationally granted.

Organizational DNA
There are too few organizations which have personal development as part of their cultural DNA.

Some essential ingredients of that DNA would be budgeting of time and money for personnel’s ongoing development.

There is a relational side to this too. Part of normal conversations would be people being asked when and how they are staying personally vibrant and maturing as well as professionally equipped.

Of course, leadership is has an essential role. Leaders can model ongoing personal development. They aren’t merely telling us to do this. They do it themselves and share stories of their own growth. This grants permission and vision for a path forward.

Taking Personal Responsibility
No matter what organizational culture I find myself in, the onus is still on me. I alone am responsible for how I steward God’s constant invitation toward himself. I can budget money and time to attend conferences and schedule personal retreat.

How Do You Grow?
God has taught me about myself. Here is some of what I need to be growing: books to learn; space and time to reflect, think and create; others to pass ideas by to make sure I am on track and receive counsel from; a monthly day of prayer; external input from learning opportunities; time to play outside….

  • How do you learn?
  • What do you need?
  • Who could mentor you?
  • How will you schedule and budget for that?

Will their be hinderance? Yes! Mom’s of little ones could wonder how this could ever happen. Living in a major urban environment can make it hard to find space and quiet. Limiting budgets can feel restrictive. But, if God is as committed to this as I am suggesting, then I believe he will provide. Ask your Father to do so.

As shepherds of others, it behooves us to always be growing and seek personal vitality. We can only lead others to where we have gone ourselves.

This entry was posted in Living Wisely, Personal Vitality, Shepherding Well, Spiritual Vitality, The Shepherd's Health, Thinking Well and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Theme #5: Lack of Permission for Personal Development and Care

  1. Patty Stallings says:

    Scott, I’ve appreciated the additional layer of thinking your revisitation of these themes has provoked. Lots of good stuff to ponder!


  2. Daren Tompkins says:

    Thanks for this series Scott. Our team here has been reading and appreciative of your posts. It has been interesting to me to reflect on how each of these 5 areas seem to be very much inter-connected. Blessings.


    • Scott S says:

      Daren. That is fantastic. Thanks so much. I’d love to hear what insights your team is coming up with. If possible, please do share sometime. Blessings as you care for many. S


  3. Pingback: Casual Friday Missionary Care Resources | Paracletos

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