Just today, I was confronted with a question that I've thought about before, but this time I started to wonder about it in a slightly different light. First, I've always thought of myself in many ways, as someone who has abilities in a lot of different areas. I've often found myself good at a lot of things, but not particularly great at many - if any. At different times in my life I decided to eliminate some areas of my involvement in order to focus on others, hoping this would not only simplify my life and giving me more time to breath, but also allowing me to get better, dare I say become great, in the remaining areas.
Fast forward to today, where I'm a pastor over a number of different areas which require varying degrees of leadership gifts and talents. As I've been kicking the tires on Bill Hybel's Courageous Leadership, I had some trouble thinking of the areas of leadership that I truly had gifts in and those that I didn't - weren't these titles somewhat arbitrary? Do they fit everyone? And then I had an encounter the other day where I was challenged to have more obvious ownership over some things, and I saw how some people have such intricate systems of administration - obvious evidence of this kind of leadership. And on top of that, I was confronted with the premise in Hybels' book, that leaders make decisions based on values and decisions they've made over time, increasing their abilities to be "right"... and the wheels for me continued to turn - maybe, I'm simply not a details guy. Or is it that I don't want to be a details guy, and so I slack off in this area sometimes and it's a liability because of my desire? Which is it?
The question, for me, strikes at the heart of two things. First, if there is an issue of desire, then I am not making the most of the gifts and talents I have. I am not living up to the potential I possess and dishonoring God in my ministry. Second, if there is an issue of ability, then this goes straight to the heart of where God, presumably, will lead in the future. And six months into my first pastorate is not exactly the right time to be thinking about "the future" - but I admit that it's something I do. Not that I'm looking for anything - I just had a conversation with a family, sharing that I think it's abhorrent for pastors to be like College Football & Basketball coaches (and not that good for them either) with their resumes out and always with an eye for the next gig. But I admit that one of the reasons I'm here at Liberty is the opportunity to learn and prepare, for a call down the road where I may have to answer all the big questions myself.
Anyway, these were the thoughts swimming through my brain just now and I wanted to get them down and out. I desperately want to be a good steward of my gifts and talents, not wasting them but developing them. But the question I find myself asking is whether I actually have some of these gifts or not, and if not, should I be seeking to develop them, or instead, seeking to find people who have these gifts and I can delegate duties to - increasing the ownership of our shared ministry together. If anyone reading this has any insight or personal experience, I'd love to hear...