Recently, I had the opportunity to lead a staff development retreat for a faith based, nonprofit medical clinic in my area that serves the growing population who have little or no access to adequate health care. The staff of 18 includes an executive director, two doctors, nurses, medical technicians and assistants, a social worker, and a spiritual counselor. The clinic is the product of a coalition of churches in partnership with a major regional faith based hospital and the community. This fall they will move into a building donated by a small congregation that made a graceful exit from a transitional neighborhood they were no longer reaching. In leaving, church donated their building and property to be shared by the clinic and a new church plant that is more compatible with the neighborhood’s changing culture. It’s a win-win for the Kingdom all around.
The retreat focused on helping the staff navigate their way through the changes ahead as they continue to grow and expand their services. They are already a good team but their expectation is to become a great team as they move to a new level of staffing and ministry. The morning sessions were designed around the theme of discovering your divine design and and covered three areas-their wiring, gifting, and passion and the afternoon sessions made application of that learning in terms of their internal processes and staff relationships. It made for a very full, but fruitful day.
Discovering your divine design involves understanding your wiring – how God created you. It also involves understanding your gifting – how the Holy Spirit has gifted you for ministry and service. And finally, it means identifying and acting on your passion or those areas or causes that make your heart sing. The result of this process is discovering the unique person that God has intended you to become from the beginning of time.
Wiring – How God has created you. While every person is unique, there are similarities in our patterns of behavior, the process we use in taking information and making decisions, our motivation, how we relate to one another, and how we order our lives. There are scores of assessment tools to help you understand your wiring- the MBTI, DiSC, Strengths Finder, and Birkman are among the most widely used assessments. Before we looked at the results of the assessment tool we used, we studied Ephesians 2:10- “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Understanding others begins with understanding yourself and understanding yourself begins with understanding the God who created you for a purpose.
Gifting – How the Holy Spirit has gifted you. Every believer has been given at least one spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of service and ministry according to the Kingdom assignment that God has designed for us. Our spiritual gifts point us to where we will serve with our greatest joy and passion. They are confirmed by our experience and affirmed by others. Exercising our spiritual gifts makes the difference between “working for God” that results in weariness and burn-out and the joyful service that Jesus describes and desires for his disciples.
Passion – What makes your heart sing. Of the three dimensions, passion is probably the hardest to identify and define. One friend and author describes it as a “divine magnet.” It attracts us to the people, functions, or causes where God intends for us to serve. Another way to think of passion is that when we are involved with it, it makes our heart sing. It gives us energy and joy. Sometimes, passion is a burden we carry, a call we have received, a dream or a vision we have glimpsed. I’m convinced that our passion is built into us by God so that we will conform ourselves to his purpose for our life and be used to extend his Kingdom. Identifying your God-given passion is not an exact science but rather more of a process. If you do not know your own passion, it’s more than likely that you are fulfilling the passion of others. That is good, but never as satisfying as acting on your own God-given passion. A passion may be hidden, but it is never gone. It may be silenced, but it still speaks to us. We may suppress our God-given passion, but it will never go away. And once we identify it, we are compelled to act upon it.
In advance of the actual retreat, the clinic staff had completed wiring and gifting assessments. As I began to create a “map” of the staff and matched each person’s wiring and gifting to the their role at the clinic, what emerged was a beautiful picture of how God had created and the Spirit had gifted the team for the purpose of delivering medical services in the name of Christ. Their gifts in rank order included faith, mercy, hospitality, administration, giving, leadership, wisdom, and helps. When we looked at the composition of the staff according to their role, there was an alignment between their wiring, gifting, and their responsibilities. And when each person described their passion for what they are doing, their stories okay completed the picture.
Having led this process for church staffs, small groups, and entire organizations, the results were not a surprise to me. Rather, they were an affirmation that understanding our wiring, gifting, and passion is the difference between having pews filled with growing disciples instead decisions or offices filled with people we have simply employed.
What kind of picture has God painted in your church and your staff?