“Know thyself.” —Socrates
Knowing myself — my strengths, my weaknesses, and my inclinations — helps me navigate leading people. It also provides a framework for others to know how best to interact with me. We use a variety of assessments from Myers Briggs to Strength Finders to DISC to help our associates grow in their understanding of who they are and to help our teams better understand how to work together.
This principle is valuable not only for individuals, but also for organizations. If a business doesn’t have a stable sense of itself, it can experience drift, confusion, and distraction resulting in loss of focus. But, if a business understands its story, or what we call brand narrative, it can remain focused on its mission. The same is true for churches. Each church has a unique focus or culture that enables it to fulfill its unique calling.
Yet in church we often get distracted by what the successful church down the road is doing, or by trying to be all things to all people. Your ministry isn’t exactly like every other in your neighborhood, and that’s a good thing. It’s time to embrace that difference. Find your audience, your people, your mission, your niche — and your whole church will be healthier.
To thine own ministry be true...
Here are four things to keep in mind as you seek to establish your unique ministry:
- Remember your roots. The birth and growth of every church is the story of the voice of God and the movement of its people. What was the catalyst for your church to begin gathering? Was there an unmet need that was identified, or a specific group of people that you wanted to reach?
- Identify your values. Knowing yourself provides clarity into your values. This includes culture, but goes much further than that. If you don’t know what you value, you may be investing energy and other resources into the wrong things. There are countless good things that you can spend you time on, but are you spending it on the right good things?
- Find your tribe. Want to know who your people are? Your people are the people whose values are in the same place as your church’s. Create a profile of that core person — what he or she believes in deeply, what he or she values, how he or she speaks. If you consciously keep the profile of who you’re looking to reach in your mind, you’ll find you have a much easier time not just attracting people, but attracting the people who might fit best in your community.
- Put things into perspective. Often, churches create a mission statement without fully knowing who they are. If that is you, then it is unlikely that there will be alignment between your desired identity, your mission statement, and your activities. Begin by creating alignment between your narrative and a clear, actionable mission statement. Next, evaluate everything around these core components of who you are. When you’re considering a new ministry program, does it help you accomplish what your church has set out to do? Is it in tune with what you value?
It’s important to remember that you were called to serve a certain population for a certain purpose. Returning to that initial calling and purpose needs to be a regular part of your routine.
Can you articulate your church’s unique calling?