St. Augustine said to “Know Thyself”
What type of a leader are you? One of the most important things you can do for the health and benefit of the ministry that you lead is to know yourself. Do you understand your SHAPE for ministry? SHAPE is a wonderful acronym that stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences. To know how you can lead your ministry, you must start by knowing yourself and your SHAPE.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS. Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? At the time of conversion when a person truly becomes a Christian, God mystically endows them with special spiritual gifts. These spiritually derived gifts act as a silver lining of sorts around your life. The Holy Spirit empowers someone in a very unique way through these spiritual gifts, literally provides a person who is using their gifts with an extra measure of grace and favor. What spiritual gifts has God endowed you with?
HEART. What are you passionate about? If you have a passion for children, you have likely found yourself in Children's Ministry. Do you have a passion for the elderly? What about a passion for children who have no shoes or who are left without a coat? Do you have a passion for refugees who find themselves in a harsh new country called America? Knowledge of the things you are passionate about is a critical way to understand your shape for ministry.
ABILITIES I believe there is a difference between spiritual gifts and abilities. I have abilities that don’t have that spiritual sense around them. For example, I have the ability to play electric guitar in a worship band. I don’t believe, however, that I have the spiritual gift of music. The fact that I do not have the spiritual gifting of music influences opportunities and ways that I could serve in ministry. Knowing the difference between your spiritual gifts and your abilities influences how you have been shaped to serve and lead.
PERSONALITY. Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Many church leaders are afraid that God can’t use an introverted person in a staff position at a local church. Nothing can be further from the truth! You see, introverted and extroverted people should be defined as follows: An extrovert gains energy from being around people while an introvert gains energy from times of solitude. Simply put, it is just whether or not being around people directly charges or depletes you. I have seen many wonderful introverted leaders who have excelled at ministry. It just comes down to knowing yourself.
EXPERIENCES The final stop on discovering your shape in ministry is about experiences. Any and every experience can be leveraged by God for His kingdom. You just have to think about how your experiences might influence the kingdom of God. Are you a stay-at-home mom? There are plenty of opportunities to be positively exploited in the ministry because you have experience as a stay-at-home mom. Do you have abilities as a mid-level executive? Those experiences alone can and should influence how you lead in the local church. Have you ever had a broken arm? That doesn’t need to be wasted in the Lord. Your ministry can be shaped by any and every experience that you’ve had.
Knowing yourself is a great opportunity to know how you can lead. Take time to scratch out, on a piece of paper, your SHAPE for ministry. After you know your SHAPE for ministry you can then unleash yourself for opportunity in the Kingdom.