When I was 5-9 years old, I played baseball for the little league program in my hometown. However, there was a problem, I was not very good, and by some standards, I was not very good at all. I had average hand-to-eye coordination, so fielding and hitting the ball was an issue. I could not hit very well and rarely caught the ball. I played right field on occasion and typically batted at the bottom of the order.
Not to fault the other coaches I had, they were using a common standard of measurement. However, then came Mr. Fox. Coach Fox would work with me, but he just watched for the first few practices and games. He noticed that I was the first one out of the dugout with my gear, the first one to the dugout after the inning was over, and when I was walked, or, actually got a hit, he noticed that I could run like the wind. Soon, he sat me down talked with me about a position that I was unfamiliar with, the pinch-runner. Before I knew it, a player who could hit, but was much slower, would get on base, and Coach Fox would put me in. I still had to play right field sometimes, and eventually became a back-up catcher, but I got to run! He taught me that a walk was as good as a hit. Stealing bases was my specialty.
Locating my strengths and weaknesses in baseball was essential to me having fun. I have found the same thing in ministry.
While in the corporate world, I discovered a book that changed the way I saw myself, and it transcended into every area of my life: StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. Understanding my strengths allowed me to discover a bit more about how I am made up, function, and what drives me. There is an assessment that accompanies the book that ranks 33 traits that everyone has. Here are my top 5:
- Futuristic-Inspired by the future and what could be. Inspires others with their visions of the future.
- Focus-Takes direction follows through and makes the corrections necessary to stay on track. Prioritizes, then acts.
- Significance-Wants to be seen as impactful in the eyes of others.
- Restorative-Adept at dealing with problems. Good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.
- Competition-Measures progress and performance. Strives to win and revels in contests. Setting goals and achieving are critical.
Do you have a coach? What are you being measured by? Are the standard, rather than customized measurement tools used, maximize your strengths, or are you, and others, focused on your weaknesses? Maybe a bigger question is, do you even know your strengths?
I have learned to focus on my strengths, surround myself with people who have strengths that compliment my weaknesses, and understand that I am not good at everything that God needs for my church to be triumphant. God knows my strengths. If you would like someone to sit down with you, listen, and watch for strengths, give one of the coaches at CABA a call.
The first two Pastors to shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, will receive a free copy of StrengthsFinder 2.0. The only catch is that I would like you to email me a copy of your list.
--Doug Sibcy is a church coach for CABA. He also pastors G3 Community Church in Lebanon, Oh.