In his book, Leading from the Inside Out, Samuel D. Rima wrote, “To effectively master the art of self-leadership, a person must develop a strong connection with a sense of calling that guides his actions and elevates his daily activity above the mundane, imbuing all efforts with an intrinsic, metaphysical value” (55). No principle is more crucial in today’s climate than the art of self-leadership. Over half of all marriages are ending in divorce, pastors are resigning due to immoral behavior, CEOs are deceiving shareholders, and politicians continue to make empty campaign promises. Before I can lead others I must first be able to lead myself. Ron Martoia, lead pastor of Westwinds Community Church, warns, “Only after managing and leading self can we hope to lead laterally, lead up, and then, only then, lead our subordinates” (37). This is one reason why the Apostle Paul wrote, “But if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5, NASB).
Likewise, no title, position, or even career will ever bring lasting significance to one’s life. Rather, only one’s divine calling will bring true fulfillment to whatever role one has been entrusted with. The Apostle Paul spoke of his holy vocation when he wrote, “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased” (Galatians, 1:15, NIV). God might very well be more concerned with my identity as a person more than he is with my accomplishments as a professional. The intent of this Personal and Ministry Profile is to share the details of my personal formation, sharpen the direction of my ministry, and to set a plan for deliberate life development. Over the years, I have come to realize that my personal mission statement is to fulfill the great commandment and great commission by engaging seekers, enabling followers, entrusting ministers, and encouraging leaders.
I was the second of three children, born in Richland, Washington, on November 16, 1978. My father was a pipefitter and my mother a homemaker. To any onlooker at a Sunday church gathering, my family would have appeared to resemble a classic episode of The Brady Bunch. However, behind closed doors my parents were arguing exceedingly and excessively. Their marriage finally ended in a divorce sometime during my sixth grade year. My father eventually sought out pastoral counseling, asked for forgiveness for his decisions, and began the long road back to restoration that culminated with a marriage to a wonderful woman that just recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. On the other hand, my mother chose to go down the path of rebellion that included four marriages, several sudden location changes, and numerous career switches.
The darkest hours took place while I was just fourteen years of age. I was unable to come to terms with how the same woman who had spent hours praying for me as a child could resort to such lowly actions as verbal and physical abuse, alcohol addiction, and sexual promiscuity. The divorce and ensuing events hardened my heart and convinced me that there was no one worthy of my trust but myself. I had seen too many promises broken in too short a period of time. There appeared to be no one who could be depended upon to display either love or loyalty – especially a God who would allow such crisis and chaos to occur. As a result, I quickly became a young man full of escalating rage, isolating mistrust, and disparaging habits. My life epitomized the words penned by the Apostle Paul nearly two thousand years ago when he said, “ “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another (Titus 3:3, ESV).
Finally the mistreatment became too unbearable, and with the assistance of my older sister, my father invited me to return to his home. The only difficult stipulation was that I was forced to attend church while I lived with him. Needless to say, I was not happy with this mandate. I went as far as, upon being dropped off at the midweek youth gathering, to hide in the bushes located outside of the Family Activity Center until service was over. This plan was flawless until the day that my father decided to send me to summer camp. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to avoid this scenario. Monty Hipp, the Northwest Ministry Network Youth Director at the time, was the speaker for the entire week. The first night he spoke on the idea of placing faith in the loving loyalty of Jesus Christ. I had been to church as a child and thus had heard previously about the cross. However, this was the night that I first understood the meaning behind his sacrifice. He explained how God, out of his covenant faithfulness, had offered humanity what they did not deserve. The Heavenly Father had sent his only Son to die so that I might be reconciled and renewed. Previous experiences at church had prepared me to anticipate some sort of altar experience. I was at the edge of my seat just waiting for the opportunity to respond. When the invitation was finally given, without the least bit of hesitation, I ran up to the front and fell on my knees to ask God to forgive me. For the first time in my life, I placed confidence in Someone other than myself.
A few days later, in a similar worship experience, Pastor Monty instructed the campers on the need to represent Jesus Christ through their language and lifestyle. He taught on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and then gave an opportunity for the students to seek Christ’s power and presence with the initial evidence of speaking in another language. Reception of the outward sign was a confirmation that I was appointed as a witness. I will forever value and continue this practice in my life. Later on I would stumble upon the following words which best articulate this week of encounters, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7, ESV).
I wish I could say that from that point on that I displayed an unwavering commitment to Christ. There had been significantly large steps taken in the right direction such as participation in water baptism, involvement in the local church, and progress in the area of forgiving those who had previously hurt me. However, at this point in my life I was motivated more by my fear of rejection from others than I was in finding acceptance through my relationship in God. Too make matters worse, the youth pastor who was greatly influential in my initial discipleship, resigned under difficult and dissentious circumstances. Instead of turning to Christ for comfort and stability I fell back to my natural inclinations of anger and blame. I failed to utilize the resources and habits, such as prayer and bible study, entrusted to me to take “God beyond the spiritual compartment of [my] private spiritual life and to give him free reign in all [my] daily actions and relationships, especially [my] leadership roles” (Blanchard and Hodges xiv). I had fallen into the same trap of too many followers of Christ who are content with gaining more understanding and not allowing that information to translate into a transformed perspective, accomplishment, or lifestyle. In other words, I was approaching a place where I could no longer afford to catalog my faith. Character and credibility demanded that I become holistic in my message and methods. Somewhere along the way I had deceived myself in believing that I could control an area of my life and thus was free to avoid bringing a certain attitude or action under submission to Jesus (such as dishonesty or laziness). I had to reach a place where I would finally decide to submit to the Scriptures which were challenging me to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
At least I showed the good judgment to make an appointment with my lead pastor. My hope was to not only show my support during the present conflict but also to seek guidance in the midst of my personal storm. Towards the end of the conversation he asked me about my plans following next year’s high school graduation. At that point I had all intention to either join the Navy or to pursue a teachings degree from a school in the Midwest. Pastor Darrell responded, “I am not being prophetic here, but I think you would make a great youth pastor. You should consider Northwest (University).” This comment completely infuriated me. There was no way that I would ever go into ministry. By no means would I ever step into a role where I had the potential of hurting someone as I had felt wounded. The next day my student ministry departed for a winter retreat at Ghormley Meadows Christian Camp in Rimrock, WA. Pastor Keith Bennett was the speaker. That night I was reminded of the love and leadership of Jesus Christ. I repented for my attempts at being in control of my life rather than placing my trust and obedience in my Heavenly Father. The pastor then asked if there was anyone that was sensing a call into vocational ministry. My heart began to race. I raised my hand just high enough in hopes of appearing submissive but not high enough for others to actually see to hold me accountable. Within seconds there were three youth leaders surrounding me in prayer. I was so terrified that I would one day fail as a pastor that I spent much of the next day crying in front of a few trusted leaders as they in turn took time to counsel and pray with me.
The next two years was a season that eventually brought me to terms with my calling. Navigating this process was largely due to the influences of several key people. My father and step-mother always wanted me to do my very best in life. They both where incredibly supportive and understanding when I shared with them my retreat experience. I would not have graduated from high school, let alone college, if they had not held me responsible along the way. Then there was my next youth pastor, Neil King, who gave me my first opportunities in student leadership and small group ministries. He was the first to see my passion for the bible and love for middle and high school students. The conversations that we shared would eventually help me to identify and to clarify a plan of meeting my goal of going into full-time youth ministry.
Above all else, the most significant relationship that I was given would be the one that I would share with Jana Beal. She was instrumental in helping me battle my fear of failure and rejection. In their book titled, Trust Me, Hastings and Potter write, “When we are paralyzed by fear, we tend to lose perspective and often make decisions or act in ways that do not support our integrity – fear-caused paralysis then leads to procrastination” (150). I came to realize that this trepidation was separating me from God because of the shame that was ensuing. The fear was also creating a crevice between me and others because I was ceasing to believe that people could ever understand or accept me in my authentic state. Along with that, fear was even driving me from who I was truly meant to be due to the fact that I was beginning to gravitate towards excuses instead of true repentance (Blanchard and Hodges 59). I still, at times, find myself settling for comparing myself to others. This response either gives me a false sense of confidence or leaves me with a general frustration with my present circumstances. Such a distorted perception of life commonly leads to mistakenly coming to expect constant disappointment and deceit (Blanchard and Hodges 60).
I have since strived to live by John C. Maxwell’s “Seven Signs of a Great Attitude.” He proposes that I understand my proper identity in Christ (“Roadmap” 57). Instead of being overwhelmed with my appearance or performance, I must aim to celebrate what I have done right and be intentional in growing in the areas in which I am presently weak. This has also caused me to highlight the positive in others. Not only will this decision help me keep a healthy perspective but it will also challenge the people I partner with to exceed those expectations. I also need to anticipate a possibility instead of always a problem with each and every situation. Life and leadership are rarely about fortune or title but rather about the willingness to obey even in the face of personal cost. Such a healthy outlook would also include great attention to bringing about resolution. My goal should be to get right with people rather than merely being right with people. This type of outlook naturally lends itself to also exemplify an authentic generosity. Maxwell reminds readers that “It’s not what you have that makes a difference [but] what you do with what you have” (60). I want to be one who models perseverance. Conquering a fear of failure and rejection gives one the desire to fight the fight, face disheartening times, and push through dissatisfaction. I am now confident enough to be held accountable for my own actions. Positive leaders are those who evaluate their performance, talent, failures, and take strategic steps to improve (61). The bible instructs that, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare.” (Proverbs 29:25, NIV). Mentors and friends have been strategically placed in my life to remind me to be careful to believe that only God is the “omniscient audience and authority for [one’s] decisions” (Blanchard and Hodges 63).
With the assistance and approval of both sets of parents, Jana became my wife on December 10, 1999. We have since welcomed three phenomenal children into the world – Julia, Jace, and Josslyn. My family has continued to not only instruct me on how to give and receive love, but also they have shown me that we all do so in different ways. Raising children has forced me to demonstrate unselfishness and brought about priceless memories along the way. During that same time I completed my formal ministry training by way of an Associate of Arts Degree in 2002 at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, WA and a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Biblical Literature in 2002 through Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. While in college, I interned for a total of five years between two different churches. This proper and practical training complimented one another in preparing me to not only study and communicate the bible but also to embark on formulating and articulating my philosophy of ministry. Following my education, I received a License to Preach with the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God and was ordained three years later. Words cannot begin to express how valuable my cooperation with this affiliation has been over the few years. Involvement in the Network has included serving as Area Leader over two different sections, Ministry Director of summer camps and student leadership conferences, and also as a member of the Youth Council. The Network as not only offered me needed accountability in the area of doctrine and ethics but also has provided me the necessary community and instruction to ensure that I thrive in my ministry setting.
As previously mentioned, Samuel D. Rima was careful to define vocation as being what God has selected and positioned for a person to be. In contrast, an occupation is merely the stage for that calling to be played out upon. He referred to this venue as an “avocation” (59). I, like many leaders, commonly mistake my vocation with my avocation. There are moments where I am tempted to gain my significance by way of my performance. I measure my success by way of attendance, appreciation, or awards. At other moments I am guilty of confusing my calling with the position that I currently hold. I have been witness to leaders who have quickly grown frustrated with people who ceased to follow them based solely upon their title. In order to effectively maintain and intentionally expand my influence, I have the responsibility to approach my calling with all humility and honesty by understanding that my vocation was entrusted to me as an act of grace. My position demands a measure of responsibility and should never be viewed as one of privilege. I have grown to realize that my passions in ministry are primarily to preach the bible, cast vision to the people, and build teams to accomplish the mission.
The first three and a half years of my time as youth pastor was spent at Moses Lake New Beginnings Christian Center. I am eternally grateful for the lifelong friendships that were started there. Pastor Skip Bennett trusted me in helping formulate vision and strategies such as small groups, internships, and servant evangelism projects. The church gave me the prospect to attempt much of what I had learned and had not yet learned in the classroom setting. I became a better communicator, administrator, and visionary through the victories and losses that occurred in those years. My first water baptism, baby dedication, and wedding took place within the life of that congregation. Yet, gradually there became this sense that my time in that church was coming to a close and events seemed to unfold which transitioned me out. Jana and I departed with confidence that we had given our very best and had left on relatively healthy terms.
Now for the last three years, my primary objective with the youth ministry of Maltby Christian Assembly has mainly been focused on realigning the department with the rest of the local church. I have come to understand that the mission of the church in its entirety must be a universal and unifying notion to which every ministry would cooperate and compliment with each other (Labovitz and Rosansky 42). Along with that, each ministry team should be able to see an undeviating association between what they are achieving and the overarching objective. As youth pastor, my role is not to create vision as much as it is to interpret that vision to a generation so that they might relate to it and participate alongside it. Therefore, that mission must be understandable, straightforward, and consistent with the overall approach of the church. Every partner of the congregation should be invited and engaged in the process (43). My time with this church is shaping the way I submit to and apply my own authority. I take note of Mark Rutland’s words which caution, “If loyalty is understood only in terms of isolated relationships, disillusionment and bitterness are inescapable. That is to say, a disloyal man is disloyal in his character rather than in respect to particular relationships” (29). With that in mind, I wish to display the loyalty to my lead pastor, David Brakke, as I demand from my respective teams.
In their book, Leading from the Second Chair, Bonem and Patterson define “contentment in the second chair [as my] choice to stay and grow and excel, for a season, regardless of current circumstances” (124). I should be secure in the role that God has entrusted me to fulfill at this time of my life which is to enjoy an emphasis in student ministries as well as to support and encourage the lead pastor in authority over me. Second, I must understand the overall calling upon my life. Vocation is chiefly a process of unearthing and enlargement. I must be sensitive to the voice of God concerning what I must learn and why I am where I am at this very moment. Satisfaction also comes through relationships. The people that I pastor deserve and demand my very best. The individuals of this congregation offer me lifelong friendships and memories that will forever enrich and encourage my family. Along with that, another basis of my fulfillment will be the direct result of my present work (131-132). Right now I have the privilege and responsibility to see students reach up to God and out to people, build a committed community of Christ followers, and send those Christ followers into service. Our church is devoted to building bridges to all generations by connecting people to Christ and to one another. The leadership is entering into an exciting time of dreaming about ways in which we can expand our influence in the region. I am confident that my role in helping make that vision a reality will be an exhilarating and educating experience.
That being said, I also recognize that there is an increasing restlessness attached to my current contentment. I absolutely enjoy and revel in where I have been presently placed but likewise am anticipating where I one day might be. Bill Hybels happens to define vision as “a picture of the future that produces passion” (32). Andy Stanley, in his book titled Visioneering, instructs his readers to understand that vision is often birthed out of uneasiness (19). In other words, there are natural moments in the life of a leader where he begins to dream about what his church could be or what that church could accomplish. The first step of coming to terms with this direction is to first imagine the vision. Such a moment could come suddenly or by way of a long process. He speaks of leaders who commonly come to sense that vision. Those feelings typically come in the form of a deep yearning, aspiration, or compelling idea. Similarly, Marc Estes claims that, “Passion is consuming – it’s tinged with discontent, restlessness, and determination that propel someone to action” (41). There will come a time where I must choose to act on my unique idea through a careful balance of risk and responsibility (33). However, I need to also recognize that vision does not automatically necessitate instantaneous implementation. Rather, I have to allow for time in which that vision establishes itself within me. Patience will allow me to carefully inspect and hone the dreams that I am having. Along with that, I recognize that current practices will work to train me for what is next (Stanley, “Visoneering” 20).
Specifically my dream is to one day be the lead pastor of a busy, programmatic, and attractional church and navigate the people through the transformation of becoming simple, intentional, and missional in their approach. The extended description of a simple church is one that “is designed around a straightforward and strategic process that moves people through the stages of spiritual growth. The leadership and the church are clear about the process and are committed to executing it. The process flows logically and is implemented in each area of the church. The church abandons everything that is not in the process” (Rainer and Geiger 68). My hope is to guide a church into clarity, movement, alignment, and focus (135). Such a church would be committed to the mission of connecting people to the love of Christ, the life of the church, and the need of the world. Imagine the impact a gathering of Christ followers could truly have if they would be experiential in their worship, authentic in their relationship, and incarnational in their evangelism.
In their book, The Leadership Challenge, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner encouraged leaders to search for opportunities – what they called “seizing the initiative” (164). They proposed that transformation requires great influence. In other words, authentic leaders seek to improve their organization. That being said, such morphing goes far beyond the bottom line of budgets, buildings, and attendance. Some momentous cultural shifts far exceed that which can “be seen, felt, or measured by a new system, structure, or process” (168). The true test of a leader who successfully navigates through change is that the organization, and most importantly the actual people, is actually making a noticeable impact in their community. One of the greatest challenges that every leader will face is to translate one’s principles into procedures and one’s mission into actuality. I hope to exemplify the capability to one day guide my teams through moments of insecurity, to maximize the gifts and passions of their counterparts, to exemplify integrity and transparency, and to grow on a regular basis. I aim to become deliberate in building a lasting legacy by creating valued institutions that survive over time in developing both individuals and institutions who acclimatize, transform, flourish, and mature (Kouzes and Posner, “Challenge xii).
With this in mind, I have prepared extensively on the topic of one day leading a church through significant changes. As a part of a Harvard Business School study, John P. Kotter identified key components to transforming an organization. First, I ought to partner with the existing leadership in communicating the necessity behind the transition. In their book, Culture Shift, Robert Lewis and Wayne Cordeiro suggest that leadership gather together and evaluate the current situation (59). The common purpose behind the organization must be articulated. Kouzes and Posner claim that, “You can’t mobilize people to travel to places they don’t want to go” (“Challenge” 117). Therefore, I must be careful to pay attention to the people of the church and to establish what is most valuable to them. The gospel will need to be conveyed in such a way that the message becomes an invitation for them to be challenged, an opportunity to participate in something larger than themselves, a possibility to personify greatness, a prospect to do something good, and to then transform the world as they know it. One reason why many people have shown a lack of general lack of commitment might be because the leadership has failed to call them to devote themselves to the correct mission. Too much time and attention has been invested in a building, in a budget, or in a specific ministry program and all the while the people have largely neglected Christ’s great commission and great commandment.
Second, there must be an overseeing partnership willing to lead the people through the uncertainty. Alan Nelson and Gene Appel, in their supplementary research, propose that there be adequate leadership who are not content with managing but instead growing the church (59). Mark Rutland calls pastors to lead with meekness (122). Quiet strength assuredly leads to great achievements but will never take sole credit for them. Every leader should be careful to share that victory with the entire team. Meekness will often result in the transformation of many people but never the dependency of those individuals upon the leader. It is crucial for followers to recognize and respect their leader’s talents and teachings but equally important that the leaders in turn release those teammates to discover and develop their own strategies and passions. A meek leader welcomes the weight of leadership but will likewise refuse to resort to reminding others of his position or privileges.
Third, there must be a purpose and plan in place. In other words, there must be a clear direction for the congregation to participate in. I must clarify everyone’s responsibility in shifting the culture (Lewis and Cordeiro 60). E. Stanley Ott, in his book, Transform Your Church With Ministry Teams, clarifies the genuine characteristics of mobilizing Christ followers in ministry. Mobilization goes far beyond merely delegation. True sending entails encouraging and entrusting the ministry team to accomplish what they sense is their goal and objective (158). This process involves true training that adequately sets the people up for effective ministry. Along with that, mobilization includes giving the team consent to do what they communicated they were going to do (159). True and effective mobilization replicates and reproduces the culture of teams. Ministry in the team context becomes contagious. Mobilization is never to be an individualistic venture. The church would capture the value of spiritual journey being one meant to be taken in the context of community (160).
Fourth, the vision then needs to be shared with and studied over by the entire group. According to Reggie McNeal, sound judgment starts with asking the correct questions. Concerning ministry strategy, a church must constantly and honestly evaluate. Are the people playing church or are they actually becoming the church? Is the aim to increase the church or is the goal to bless the city? Is the church producing ministers within the building or propelling missionaries out in the community? Concerning discipleship, are the strategies in place making members of the church or are they truly mobilizing followers of Christ? The church has the opportunity not only to demonstrate the loving truth of Christ but also to invite the unchurched to join them on the journey. The leadership must assess if they are just scheduling more programs or getting ready for God’s upcoming potential. There is a definite difference between training personnel and launching a transformational community (McNeal 103)?
Fifth, steps must be taken in order to turn this dream into a reality. There is a time for action. One day I should show a willingness to tackle the obstacles that are keeping the congregation from completing Christ’s mission. Discernment must be given with how far and how fast the change is implemented (Nelson and Appel 60).
Sixth, the leadership needs to celebrate small victories along the journey. Tributes and commemorations will have to be put into place concerning the ministries and milestones that are accomplishing the mission (63). Kouzes and Posner write, “Participatory celebrations bring people together so that information can be exchanged, relationships can be nourished, and a sense of shared destiny can be sustained” (“Encouraging” 121). John C. Maxwell once said, “The most fundamental management truth I’ve ever learned is that what gets rewarded gets done” (Maxwell, “Teamwork” 188). Along with celebrations, a pertinent responsibility of every leader is to share the message through their language and lifestyle (62). I have to be intentional in doing regular personal audits of my habits, schedules, meetings, and responses to conflict.
Finally, there is a time for acknowledging progress and choosing to then bring about even more change. The leadership should continue to ground the values into the traditions and customs of the organization (Kotter 20). The pastoral and leadership team have a continued responsibility to align and attach the vision to a biblical foundation. Transforming a church will demand a united and diverse team of people. Strategies must be put into place in order to recruit, retrain, and release individuals to partner together in ministry. Any and all division will only weaken and possibly destroy the possibility of lasting and life-giving change. With that, the leaders must be careful and compassionate in addressing all quarreling. The most dangerous and destructive kind finds its source in arrogance and self-interest (Nelson and Appel 61). A lot of disagreements can develop merely by way of misunderstandings or miscommunication. Sharing of the new vision must be presented constantly and in different contexts (62).
PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH PLAN
God has specially created me with a distinctive mixture of behaviors, dispositions, abilities, and experiences. He intends to utilize and maximize those characteristics for his divine purposes in redeeming disconnected individuals (Hybels and Mittelberg 122). This is why the pursuit and preciousness of character development in the life of a leader is so vital. Mark Rutland defines character as “the composite of virtues and values” that will ultimately determine a person’s impact and influence on others (1). There is great concern that the moral fabric of the cultural landscape is quickly deteriorating. It is not that people lack values but rather that they hold to the wrong ones all together (5-6). By no means is Rutland proposing that humanity can succeed without faith in Jesus Christ. On the contrary, he begins with the precondition that “by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV). However, he does caution and correct those who have reacted excessively to “works-righteousness” by neglecting their responsibly to respond to God’s grace. Rutland sums up this idea by saying that, “God’s willingness to help must be met with our willingness to be helped” (10).
With that in mind, I am drawn back to Aubrey Malphur’s instructions on building upon strengths (136). So much of education and experience calls leaders to invest the majority of their attention up on their weaknesses. Though I should be aware of my limitations, I cannot be overwhelmed by them. The majority of my time, energy, and resources should be spent on what makes me feel thrilled and tested. My development as a leader is primarily about pursuing growth in the area of my expertise. It is vital to work on the limitations that most hinder or harm me and to staff the rest if possible. Along those same lines, the premise behind the Gallup StrengthFinder profile is to assist leaders in honing the awareness of what they could and would be good at (Buckingham and Clifton 76). My strengths are the equivalent of my natural talent and the effort I take to develop that talent. If that is the case, it makes more sense for me to “capitalize on [my] strengths, whatever they may be, and manage around [my] weaknesses, whatever they may be” (27).
The measurement gave me five top themes to consider and mature. First, I have the capability to be strategic. Leaders who exemplify this attribute typically produce optional ways to continue by efficiently choosing the pertinent conversations. Second, I scored high in the category of learner. This means that I have the possibility of being one who studies and grows on a daily basis. Third, I might be one of belief. People who are strong in this area embrace certain core values that are uncompromising and transforming concerning one’s purpose for life. Fourth, I might be one who excels in connectedness by believing there are few chances and that almost every situation has a meaning. Finally, my test showed a tendency towards intellection which is when one exemplifies and enjoys thoughtful and enthusiastic intellectual conversations.
Malphur’s Leadership Style Inventory confirmed my Inspirational-Analytical tendencies (210). One temperament indicator solidified these conclusions by showing that I am a strong introvert, slight in sensing and feeling, and strong in judgment (Malphurs 200). The DiSK assessment further explained these terms and conditions by scoring my strongest temperament type as Influence and my next highest as Conscientious/Thinker (194-195). My overall classical pattern was Practitioner. In other words, I am likely to search for possibilities of individual development. Upon reaching a plan for growth, I often will show progress in that selected area. Though I often look to be proficient in a definite skill this does not keep me from sharing my perspective on a diverse amount of topics. I can be secure in my own ability, particularly when it is my passion to take on new challenges that often invigorate me. Even while approaching uncertain methods, I often appear to be stress-free, even when that is usually far from being the case. In spite of my friendly approach, though, I still believe restraint and performance are crucial. There are moments that I think way too much about my own intentions which can often lead me down the road of comparing myself and competing with those around me (DiSK 10).
According to my personal inventory statement, my spiritual gifts are leader, teacher, pastor, encourager, and administrator (188). Likewise, the complimentary Natural Gifts and Abilities Indicator reviewed my occupational concentration as being passionately interested in ministry, strongly interested in teaching and writing, and slightly interested in coaching and politics (215).The Leadership Role Indicator reiterated these attributes by explaining my preference to be a leader rather that of a manager (203). Similarly, the Natural Gifts and Talents Inventory revealed my deepest concern to be that of ministry. I scored passionately interested in adolescents, adults, leadership, and preaching. I was evaluated as strongly interested in ministry assessment coaching, shepherding, small groups, teaching, and writing.
Finally, I was scored as slightly interested in evangelism (212-213). When it comes to reaching out to the disconnected and unchurched, I am naturally inclined towards the interpersonal approach. I depend largely upon relationships that I have begun with friends and look for ways to foster those friendships. This style is typically “personal, family-orientated, and emotional” and takes much long-suffering, fervency, and individual attention (Malphurs 67). Following the example of Matthew, the tax collector turned Christ follower, I thrive over an extended discussion over coffee or a meal. I authentically am concerned for them and hope to positively impact them in their journey towards Jesus. The greatest obstacle to my effectiveness is to actually pay attention to their questions without simply resorting to offering the answers all at once (Hybels and Mittelberg 128).
The biggest mistake I have seen people make, both in regards to their natural strengths and their spiritual gifts, is that they mistakenly believe that assessment is all they need. I recognize my responsibility to graciously and intentionally develop my abilities through practice, mentoring, and patience. Maturity in my strengths and gifts will only come with submission and humility. In Leading from the Inside Out, Samuel D. Rima offered exercises that I have found incredibly helpful in my personal goal-setting process. Throughout my leadership development, there have been four key elements that have arisen to become my core values. First, I see community as incredibly important to the health and effectiveness of my life. In other words, I am devoted to relating to God and with others in both truth and with love. Second, I hold the commission as being a central premise of my life. I will strive to always respond to Christ’s call to make more disciples. Third, I will value communication by consistently reflecting Christ in all of my attitudes and actions. Finally, commitment is a priority to me. I aim to represent humility and longevity in all of my relationships (53).
In his book The Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley encourages leaders on the vital component of coaching. First, I must admit that I am not as good of a leader as I could be. In order to reach my greatest potential I must heed the voices of others. Second, I must invite coaches to examine me in various ministry situations. Third, I must be careful in choosing a mentor who understands the needs of the people who I am leading. Fourth, I must look for a mentor who can communicate his lessons with simplicity and accuracy. Finally, I too must be purposeful in mentoring others (128). Both my lead pastor and Network Youth Director have continued to present me with valuable life lessons and ministry opportunities. Along with that, my father-in-law is one of my most reliable resources when it comes to family life and Pentecostal passion. Adequate accountability is an absolute necessity. I seek out people who will ask the difficult questions and demand that I answer honestly. John Ortberg challenges his readers to confess their sins by asking two crucial questions: “Why did I choose to sin?” and “What was the consequence to my rebellious actions?” The first question goes directly to the heart of the matter by uncovering “the legitimate need” that I have attempted to fulfill in an “inappropriate way” (134). The second question helps me seek out ways for retribution or reconciliation. The author goes on to say, “True confession involves entering into the pain of the person we have hurt and entering into God’s pain over sin” (135). After all, the prodigal son once confessed, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer to be called your son” (Luke 15:21, ESV).
Along with the ongoing mentoring, I plan to graduate from Southeastern University with a Masters of Arts in Ministerial Leadership by May of 2011. This degree will continue to help strengthen my ministry gifts and philosophy by integrating my Christian faith and worldview through thinking, researching, and writing. The program will also develop my concepts related to understanding and improving organizations. Along with that, I hope to obtain the knowledge, disposition, and abilities that will make me a more effective organizational leader. I will complete the program by devoting an estimated 15-25 hours a week to studying. The part time pace of one to two classes a semester will ensure that the workload can be realistically and thoroughly completed on my evenings and weekends. While I recognize that there will be sacrifices, my hope is that my schedule guarantees that neither my family life nor church ministry suffers. As for family, I plan to be very purposeful in the quality and quantity of time that I spend with them during this season of life (Rima 92). For example, Jana and I will schedule date nights throughout the month – some that are more detailed than others. She also deserves nights out with her friends, whether they be afternoons over coffee or evenings dedicated to scrapbooking. As for my children, I am going to be deliberate in finding ways to spend time with each of them individually. Some of those interests and hobbies will reveal themselves as each grows older. Julia, my six year old, seems to gravitate towards the arts. Jace, my three year old, initially enjoys sports and activities. Josslyn, my one year old is our explorer.
I also plan to devote time to becoming a more effective communicator through my writing and speaking. My hope is that this time at Southeastern University sharpens my hermeneutic and homiletic skills. Persistent practice will also make a difference. I plan to take advantage of any outside speaking opportunities as well as the use of my personal blog. In addition, my goal is to read thirty books every year of my life in order to discover creative and diverse ways to write. Topics will include biblical and theological studies, leadership development, ministry philosophy, Christian living, and presidential biographies. I will be careful to choose from both classical and emerging authors. My hope is to write my own nonfiction book in the next fifteen years. In order for that to take place, I must continue to develop the way that I design sermons and formulate series.
Discipline is an absolute necessity to my personal growth. As for spiritual habits, I commit to dedicate time at home and at the office to pray for a minimum of fifteen to thirty minutes a day. In addition, I will set aside thirty minutes a day to study and meditate upon the Scripture by journaling on a selected passage of the day. For example, commonly read a portion from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and then maybe a chapter from one of the Wisdom books. Typically, I read three to six chapters a day and then select a passage that happens to speak to me – one which challenges me, corrects me, or confuses me – and then I dedicate a good amount of time to journaling on that portion of Scripture. My time of writing begins with searching after the meaning, then the application, and finally ending with a prayer of response. One area in which I must be intentional in improving is in scheduling one to two days out of the year for a time of solitude. There are definite moments where I need to disconnect from technology and spend some reflective moments with Christ. If I do not plan these times I know my calendar will quickly become overrun by the urgent needs of the week and the month.
When it comes to my physical health, one of my greatest obstacles to self-leadership is gluttony (157). Paul asked, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19, ESV). In December of 2006, I discovered that I was at my heaviest and was convicted to make a drastic change. To be honest, most of my weight came during my junior and senior year at Northwest University and the six years since I have slowly but surely kept adding on rather than taking off. With strong accountably and strategic action I took the small steps of changing my diet, a variation of South Beach, and adding the primary exercise of stationary cycling. I have since lost forty-five pounds in fifteen months. However, I have seemed to hit a wall in the last sixty days to the point of even losing a bit of ground. I still am set on losing an additional twenty-five pounds in the next twenty four months. This would mean that I would finally reach my target weight where I am committed to stay. I am devoted to a holistic faith which is submissive to Christ in all things (Rima 173).
I have come to recognize that my personal mission statement is to fulfill the great commandment and great commission by engaging seekers, enabling followers, entrusting ministers, and encouraging leaders. This Personal and Ministry Profile has been a useful exercise in reflecting on my spiritual journey, considering my ministry philosophy, and clarifying my forthcoming goals. I am eternally grateful for the renewal that Christ has imparted upon my life. My natural response is to participate in his Kingdom coming to earth through the transformational work of his church. Leadership is about “results and relationship” – influence and integrity (Blanchard and Hodges, 193). Jesus asked his disciples this way, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 6:26).
Servant leadership honors God and his commandments. With that in mind, I will guard myself from the danger of falling into a trap of loving the vocational ministry more than I love God and others. I commit to value others as they are regardless of if they are serving Christ or not. In a similar way, I will make sure that my love for Jesus is always matched with an action. In other words, I understand that my effectiveness will continue only as I follow God through trusting obedience. The ultimate goal of leadership is not to build a kingdom of programs and people but instead to see lives transformed. Solomon once observed that, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, ESV). I look forward to not only the destination but also the path that leads me in that direction.
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