“It was a horrible time,” says Tobi S.,* a staff member at Northeast Community Church* in a northeastern state.
The lead pastor had been let go for a moral failure. People were heartsick and began to doubt their faith. Each week, more members left the church and giving was down. The staff was wounded by infighting, gossip, and slander. The stress was overwhelming.
The church leaders called upon an interim pastor, who moved from the northwest to join them and lead them through the crisis. Even so, negativity reigned.
As Tobi and others prayed for direction, she recalled personality profiles she had completed while in other positions on a church staff, as a social worker, and as a counselor. If the church staff could understand each other and treat each other respectfully, she thought, they could begin to rebuild on solid footing.
“Lord, maybe You can help us with this,” she prayed. And that is exactly what happened.
The Profiles Spark a Breakthrough
Tobi researched different personality profile set-ups and took the information to the interim pastor, who agreed to use Leading From Your Strengths with the staff. A donor offered to pay for the profiles and the process.
In preparation, staff members completed the profiles. They then met off-site for two sessions to discuss the results. Because the data results were objective, the staff members were able to have an honest discussion.
“It was a breakthrough,” says Tobi.
Most striking were the results posted on The Strengths Wheel, which displayed each participant’s natural strengths and adapted strengths. As it turns out, each staff member had been making some adjustments to the environment.
But most dramatic was the interim pastor’s adaptations.
He had walked into a messy situation when the church recruited him and had seen the need for the church to have a solid leader during its season of turmoil. Although not completely comfortable as a forceful, decision-making leader, the pastor had stepped into that role during the crisis. Yet his strong, task-oriented approach to find solutions had also been an irritant to other staff members who were people-oriented. The Strengths Wheel showed he was functioning in lonely isolation.
“During our off-site sessions, the interim pastor opened up,” says Tobi. “He explained that he didn’t know exactly what he was doing.”
The staff heard him and responded.
“It was as if everyone in the room suddenly understood that he was a person,” says Tobi. “It opened our eyes. He spoke differently from us and approached issues differently, but his heart was with us.”
Profiles Were a Catalyst to Healing
The changes were slow and small – but significant. The church elders began to meet one-on-one to re-build relationships and to get input from members. The interim pastor has softened his concern with accomplishing tasks and invested his focus in understanding people. The women on the staff meet once a week for lunch and prayer. Now 18 months later, the staff and the church are on the road to spiritual health.
For Tobi and her church, the Leading From Your Strengths experience was an effective way to begin to unlock understanding and start healing.
“The answer to hurt is not a straight line or just one activity,” says Tobi, citing different factors that contributed to the positive changes in the church. “The Leading From Your Strengths process helped open the door to allow God to orchestrate transformation within the staff as a step towards change for the whole church.”
*names changed for confidentiality
More about how other ministries use profiles and curriculum
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