Improper Ministry Fit can be a Death Sentence to Workers
One of the core elements of resiliency is a sense of purpose.
This is fulfilled by being graced with responsibilities and commensurate authority to fulfill those responsibilities that match ones spiritual gifts, skills, personality and sense of what God has asked one to gives one’s life to as closely as is possible.
That’s a long sentence. Let’s break it down.
Responsibilities and Authority
If someone is given a job, then let them do the job. That means make decisions, spend money and manage details without having to ask for permission constantly. Of course, there are organizational restrictions such as values, missional objectives, budgets, procedures, protocol and policies. Get staff up to speed on all that, provide supervision and feedback, but then set them loose to go do the job. Sure they’ll make mistakes. That is how we all learn and grow.
Responsibilities that Match Gifting, Skills and Personality
Too often organizations have a bunch of proverbial round holes to fill and square pegs are squashed into them so the holes are filled.
The classic scenario is field leadership. All of us have seen again and again some poor person made the field leader simply because they have tenure. Whether they are gifted as a leader, have leadership skills and the right personality to navigate the complexities of leadership don’t seem to be considered. The hole has to be plugged, so plug it. I cannot count the number of field leaders I have spoken to over the years who have expressed exasperation at being put in that role. This is a set up for failure.
The objective is to place people in roles that they are gifted, trained and passionate about. That sense of purpose fulfillment will carry folks through a great deal of struggles along the way.
That Vague Thing of Calling
Calling is that sense of what God has clearly told you, with other’s affirmation and guidance, to give your life to. Its that work that if you do not do, you will feel like you are not living life as you should. Of necessity you have to do it. It may be for a stage of life, but it is real in that time period. If we do not do what God has asked us to give our lives to, the inner dissonance will take its toll.
Not a Perfect World, But…
Yes, it is easy to speak in terms of ideals. There are times we all have to do some work that is outside our sweet spot. However, that cannot go on for long. It must be stop gap at best or the data shows people will seek a better fit elsewhere. Like leave the field….
What if You Feel Misfit?
It behooves us to be excellent students of ourselves. Take those assessments even if you don’t like them. StrengthFinders is great place to start. A trained StrengthFinders coach can be a coup of insight into where you will be most fruitful.
Can you articulate clearly what God has asked you to do? Write it down. Pray over it. Let it sit for a while. Come back to it and if it burns in you, then who can you talk to about that?
What other suggestions for role fit do you have?