By: Doug Parks on March 31, 2016
5 Critical Outcomes for Pastors that Learn the Power of Self-Discovery
Many of us who have been in church leadership for a long time have lived through different eras of ministry. The era of the conference, for instance, sprang up when Willow Creek and Saddleback Church began hosting large-scale events to help churches envision how to be more purposeful and strategic. Today, there's probably a conference or two every week that you can attend.
Events like these often provide great resources and tools for the local church leader. The reality is that there just isn’t enough time to attend every conference available to you, regardless of the inherent benefits. And they can create the unintended consequence of a silver bullet mentality—“If I just do what Pastor X is doing, then my church will be stronger.”
While we want to use all the tools we've been given in conferences and by experts, we believe it’s critical that each team also learn how to self-discover.
With self-discovery, there’s not a focus group or an assessment that’s done by an outside organization, who then provides a guide for the 50 ways you need to change your church. Self-discovery means your team must sit down together, map out strengths and weaknesses, pray, and be in communion with God and each other. Self-discovery is a powerful tool because rather than being told what to do, a church leadership team discovers the truth of who they are, where they are, and where God is leading them as a church.
In my experience of teaching churches this process of self-discovery, I’ve seen at least five critical outcomes emerge among leadership teams that don't happen at conferences or any other way. When churches self-discover, it leads to:
Clarity. Everybody sees where they are in relation to the mission and team.
Alignment. Everyone gets on the same page and begins to use the same language.
Conviction. With alignment often comes conviction—“This is what we must do.”
Prioritize. Conviction allows teams to set clear goals: “This is what we must do next.”
Courage. Church leaders gain confidence and courage when they discover how to solve their own problems.
Self-discovery is a powerful leadership development tool. Once a leadership team can see clearly where their church is and what the goal is, it becomes easier to discern how to prioritize resources, team members, and leadership around the right, next things. With clarity and alignment, come conviction and a confidence to set correct, effective priorities. All of this bolsters a leadership team’s courage and confidence to keep following God’s leading for their church.
Doug Parks, CEO and co-founder of Intentional Churches, will be at Aspen Group’s next Pastors Lunch on Friday, September 16, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Register for this free event here.