In our previous post, we introduced the significance of establishing/refreshing a distinct vision for your ministry. This vision, first and foremost, must be grounded in God’s stated desires for the ministry of His people. Yet the vision cannot and should not end in these general brush-strokes, it must be nuanced with your abilities as a leader.
Understand your own strengths and abilities as a leader, as well as your limitations. If you are the pastor of the church or leader of a ministry team, much of the responsibility for determining and fulfilling the vision rests upon you. This is why God made you a leader! Your vision will be closely connected to who you are as a person; it will be influenced by how God is working in your life, by your own gifts, abilities, strengths and weaknesses.
Since you will be the primary (though not the only) person articulating the vision and leading people in its fulfillment, you should experience a strong commitment to, and identification with the vision. If your personal vision is in harmony with the church’s vision, and your gifts, abilities, and interests fit with the church’s vision, you will experience a strong sense of fulfillment and satisfaction as you work toward the fulfillment of the vision. However, if your personal vision diverges from the church’s vision, or your gifts, abilities, and interests do not fit the church’s vision, you will experience significant dissatisfaction and stress. Under these conditions, many pastors find it necessary to move to another ministry, and many other ministry leaders do the same or drop out of the church altogether.
It is therefore essential that in the process of developing the vision for your church or ministry you carefully consider your own interests, gifts and abilities, strengths and weaknesses. The following questions are a beginning:
What Are Your Motivations?
- Why are you in the ministry?
- What are your personal goals in ministry?
- Whose glory are you seeking?
- What are you seeking to accomplish in the visioning process?
- In what situations do you feel most “alive”?
What Are Your Values?
- Which attributes of character are most important to you?
- What are the core values that are the foundation for your personal life and ministry?
- What are you the most passionate about? What do you dream about doing or accomplishing? What do you feel that you must do?
What Are You Strengths, Gifts, and Abilities?
- What are your spiritual gifts? How have you been able to use these gifts in ministry?
- What special abilities do you have? Artistic? Music? Preaching? Writing? Others?
- In what activities or ministry have you experienced the most satisfaction? What do you enjoy doing?
- In what activities or ministries have you been most successful?
- For what ministry activities do you consistently receive positive feedback from others?
What Are Your Weaknesses?
- In what activities or ministry responsibilities do you feel that you struggle?
- What things do you dislike doing? What things do you avoid?
- For what aspects of ministry do you not feel suited?
How Is Your Spiritual Life?
- How intimate and satisfying is your relationship with God right now?
- Where in your life have you recently experienced God’s faithfulness?
- Is your relationship with God growing in a positive direction? Why or why not?
- What sins do you struggle with the most?
- What things do you try to hide from God, others, or even yourself? What would happen if you were honest with God about these things?
- How deeply can you trust in the goodness of God? Why?
- Which passages of Scripture impact your life most strongly?
How Is Your Ministry?
- How satisfied are you with the direction of your ministry at the current time? Why?
- How would you like to see your ministry develop in the next five years?
- How comfortable are you in our relationships with others? Is it easy for you to talk with others about personal issues in their lives? Why or why not?
- On what aspects of your ministry do you spend most of your time?
- What ministry goals do you have for the next year?
- How will you recognize success in your ministry?
Remember, these questions are only a beginning. You should continuously be evaluating your life and ministry. This is an essential element in the process of growth.
Evaluate yourself and how your unique strengths, abilities and limitations shape the vision of the ministry. Then use your results to chisel down the big picture discovered in Step 1. As would be expected, the vision is not only shaped by your personal characteristics, but also the characteristics of the recipients of your ministry. Be sure to check out next month’s post on Understanding Your Congregation’s Unique Strengths, Abilities, and Limitations to find out how to narrow your vision even more.
This post is based on a portion of Andrew Seidel’s work Charting A Bold Course: Training Leaders for 21st Century Ministry. For more information on this title and for many other leadership resources, visit our Resource Center today!
About the Contributors
Dr. Andrew B. Seidel served as executive director of the Hendricks Center at Dallas Seminary for fifteen years, which provides leadership training and development for seminary students as well as ministry and business leaders. A graduate of West Point and a colonel in the U.S. Army, Dr. Seidel was senior pastor at Grace Bible Church in College Station, Texas, for fourteen years. He left the pastorate to provide leadership training for pastors on the mission field in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Today he continues to work in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia with Entrust (formerly BEE International). The author of Charting a Bold Course; Training Leaders for 21st Century Ministry, Dr. Seidel and his wife Gail Norris Seidel have been married for more than fifty years and have two married children and six grandchildren.