May 21, 2012

Finding your Gifts

It figures, harrumphed a colleague. Totally an ENTJ.

And, she continued, his ENTJ doesn’t leave any space for my ENTP.

So, I think to myself, I am LOST.

I have never undergone an extensive Myers Briggs personality test. But I’m amazed at how often it’s referenced in work and volunteer situations. It gives people a tool to understand why they approach challenges in different ways.

The vestry at our new church is undergoing a similar leadership assessment through Gallup’s StrengthsFinder. Even though many on the vestry have known each other since grade school, they’re learning new things about each other – and themselves. They are identifying strengths as individuals and as the leadership body. And of course, they’re able to look at areas for growth.

Summer is normally a slower time in the life of the church. This may be a perfect time for vestries to engage in this type of evaluation. During the program year, there’s the press of upcoming events, stewardship campaigns, and Christian education offerings. But absent some of these demands, vestries may appreciate having the time to pull back and view their leadership from the 20,000-foot level. 

And doing this evaluation in the summer means that the vestry is primed to move into the fall with a clearer sense of mission and purpose. The vestry will be able to better identify who should lead which projects: the strategic thinker might be better placed on a capital campaign committee while the practical planner might head up the fall Sunday School rally. 

Further, doing this type of evaluation will highlight the type of vestry members that should be recruited for the next class. Is the vestry missing a creative thinker or a voice of reason? Does it need a person who intuitively builds community and consensus or the detail-oriented person?

To be a successful group, our vestries need to be filled with people who have a variety of leadership and personality traits. I encourage you to spend the summer identifying and exploring those gifts.