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Don’t Settle for Okay: Profiles Move Church Teams from Good to Great

As a local church pastor for twenty-five years, Michael Lee was no stranger to personality differences in his congregation. Plus, his undergraduate degree in psychology had introduced him to dozens of kinds of personality assessments and tools.

Michael Lee

Dr. Michael Lee

But even so, when Michael enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, he was not aware of the impact the strengths movement could have in relationships and teams. It was in the DMin program that Michael was introduced to Leading From Your Strengths profile for the first time.

“I was amazed at how clear and helpful the results are,” says Michael. “I say that not to denigrate other instruments out there, but because LFYS is the most comprehensive and useful tool I’ve encountered.”

Even though Michael and his church staff worked well together, nevertheless he used the profile with the team which in his words, “brought about even better communication and unity.”

Then Michael had the opportunity to use the profile with many more church teams and leaders than he imagined … and help them move from being simply okay to being vibrant and healthy.

Don’t Hinder Others: Profiles Make A Good Thing Even Better

Michael was halfway through his DMin program in 2015 when the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) called him to leave local church ministry and serve on MBCB staff. Soon afterward, in 2017, Michael traveled to the Ministry Insights Equipping Conference to become certified.

Now as executive director of the MBCB church growth division, Michael has a staff of 30 and uses the profile both for team building and with his direct reports. “I want to understand them better,” says Michael. “But also, if there is anything we need to address, I can do so in a nonthreatening way.”

Yet what has surprised Michael the most is how the profiles help him with personal responsibilities, particularly as he works with his ministry assistant. “She is fantastic, and we get along well,” says Michael. “But I didn’t know that there were ways I approached our work that was hindering her.” Michael’s hands-off management style allows staff the freedom and latitude to do things the way that is most comfortable for them. Yet his assistant works best with a specific direction given in a timely way. “I was being too broad and general with her, which created extra stress,” says Michael. Once he discussed his assistant’s data with her, Michael changed his approach. Now, he offers her a couple of options for ways to do things. She can focus on the tasks that are most important to complete without the stress of determining which option might be best for her boss.

“Just this one change has made her less stressed,” says Michael. “It’s been incredibly helpful for both me and her.”

Don’t Just Mark Time: Profiles Move Teams Off a Plateau

MBCB partner churches routinely ask for help from the church growth division as they face stagnation or plateaued growth. It’s here where Michael and his staff step in to offer counsel.

The LFYS profiles, says Michael, have led to some key breakthroughs for these church teams.

Recently, he met with a church team that had experienced a good bit of growth coupled with considerable staff changeover. The staff was equally represented by men and women and range in age from late 20s to mid-60s. While there were no overt conflicts among the staff, they were not operating as a team and had hit a growth ceiling.

As Michael led the staff through a three-hour LFYS experience, the lead pastor was able to share openly with the team in a way he had not until that point. Were they on board with his ideas energetic, fast-paced approach? The group looked at their Strengths Wheel and saw that most of the rest of the team needed time to process ideas at a slower pace than the lead pastor. When he wanted to move quickly, they felt they couldn’t catch up. Soon, team members began to feel incapable of handling what he asked them to do.

“It was a true ‘aha’ moment,” says Michael. Even after the team building session, when Michael joined the team for lunch, the discussion continued. Staff members apologized to each other for common problems and hurts. They laughed and enjoyed each other.

Since then, staff members have changed how they communicate and interact with each other. “They’re moving forward in a healthy way and the church has broken its growth ceiling,” says Michael. “Yet without intervention, they would have struggled to resolve these communication issues and hampered the church’s ability to grow further.”

Don’t “Settle”: Profiles Dispel Ignorance

Ministry leaders have been taught excellent fundamentals in so many areas, says Michael, such as sermon preparation and managing meetings, yet lack exposure to the strengths movement.

“Take me, for example,” he says. “I have a degree in psychology, but only in recent years learned about finding, using, and blending my strengths with others.” That ignorance contradicts the 1 Corinthians 12 teaching of each individual’s giftedness and can even stunt the church.

“The Leading From Your Strengths profiles are not just to be used in a crisis,” says Michael. “Any team can use them and move from okay to vibrant and thriving.”

In his experience, any team benefits tremendously from collecting and using the data. In fact, teams and relationships that are good – like the relationship he enjoys with his ministry assistant – can move into rich, vibrant, mutually-supportive magnets of growth when users understand and appreciate each other’s strengths.

“Unless we understand ourselves and our place in the body of Christ, we will miss out on spiritual opportunities and miss out on the unity Christ offers us,” says Michael.

Which means we needn’t settle for “just okay” when our teams can be great.

Dr. Michael D. Lee served as a pastor in churches throughout Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas before joining the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) in 2015. In his role as MBCB Associate Executive Director of MBCB’s Church Growth Division, Michael focuses on leadership development and growth strategies for plateaued or declining churches. He and his wife Jenny have three children and together enjoy cycling and running. They make their home in Mississippi.

 

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Pastor-Turned-Administrator Uses Profiles to Build Church Community

Profiles Help 3 Pastors Successfully Transition to Team Leadership Model

Profiles at Seminary: “I Wish I’d Started Using Them Sooner”

DMin Candidates Grow in Self-Awareness to Lead From Their Strengths

Tate Cockrell

Tate Cockrell

Dr. Tate Cockrell was serving at a local church when he first became aware of the Leading From Your Strengths profile. He completed his individual assessment during a staff development retreat.

“When I saw my very own report, I was blown away by its accuracy,” says Tate. “I knew it would be a valuable tool for my counseling ministry.”

Tate became an LFYS certified practitioner a few years later. Since then, he regularly uses the profile as he counsels clients in marriage, recovery, grief, parenting, communication, and conflict resolution.

And he uses it with his seminary students. Under Tate’s guidance, the profile has become an integral part of the Doctor of Ministry program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).

A Core Curriculum Requirement

SEBTS Doctor of Ministry (DMin) candidates are active ministry professionals pursuing additional training in one of ten program specializations including missions, expository preaching, next-generation ministry, and women’s ministry. The program allows students to continue working full-time in ministry, combining that practical experience with mentoring and cohort support. Students travel to campus twice a year for residential seminars.

The candidates’ active ministry status is one reason the LFYS profiles are part of the program’s core curriculum. Students are able to process the data with Tate and other colleagues in their cohort.

“We require all of our DMin students to take the inventory prior to graduation,” says Tate. “I use the profiles as a tool for self-awareness, and without exception the candidates find LFYS to be extremely helpful.”

A Massive Movement to Adapt

A good example of the profile’s impact is DMin candidate David. He completed LFYS along with his colleagues in the DMin cohort. As Tate walked the students through their results, he noticed that David appeared to be shell-shocked.

Later, Tate met with David, who explained his reaction. David had been feeling unfulfilled in his current ministry role yet couldn’t understand why. He loved the community where he served, loved his congregation, and had no desire to move on.

The profile provided the answer – specifically in David’s Strengths Movement chart. The data revealed massive negative movement on two of the strength continuum scales. Negative movement indicates the user’s stress as he adapts to his environment by drawing on his less-dominant strengths.

David was still doing the same job he had always done, but as the church had grown there were considerable changes in his job responsibilities. Those changes required David to operate less in the sweet spot of his strengths and significantly more in using strengths that did not come naturally to him. David had been working hard to compensate to meet those requirements.

Tate and David talked through some ways he could staff differently. He was delighted to learn that there was another solution to his dissatisfaction other than leaving his current ministry assignment.

A Self-Awareness Tool

For Tate, LFYS is not only a cornerstone of the doctoral program at SEBTS, but also a key tool in his counseling ministry.

“One of the things that is so good about the profiles is their usability,” says Tate. “They are easy to understand.” Any user can benefit from the data without an advanced degree in psychometrics, psychology or testing, says Tate, particularly if that individual processes the information with a certified practitioner.

“So many of the problems that people bring into counseling are fueled or exacerbated because of their lack of self-awareness,” says Tate. Conflicts are often the result of differing personalities and strengths. But therein lies danger as people often attach moral value to their personalities or preferences. They begin to think that their way is “right” instead of understanding that their way is one “option.” The profiles help people to see the benefit of learning from and benefitting from others who are not like them.

“The profiles genuinely help people understand themselves better,” says Tate. “My only regret is that I didn’t start using them sooner in my counseling work and at the seminary.”

Dr. Tate Cockrell, Associate Professor of Counseling and Assistant Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been in the ministry for 25 years, serving in the local church and in para-church ministries. He has also taught adjunctively at five different graduate schools. Tate maintains a private counseling practice at The Center for Hope & Reconciliation and travels throughout the United States and internationally, speaking in conferences on marriage, family, grief, parenting, divorce, recovery, and men’s issues. He and his wife Wendy have three children and make their home in North Carolina.

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FAQ

Jodie O'Shannassy leads a group of volunteers in ministry at her local hospital using LFYS

Volunteers: Profiles Help Pastoral Caregivers Serve Hurting Patients, Families

Jodie O’Shannassy and her hospital volunteers use LFYS to gain understanding for each other and those they serve

Hospital chaplain Jodie O’Shannassy serves with three other leaders to coordinate a team of 30-40 pastoral care volunteers serving in hospitals that are part of the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service (DDHHS) throughout southern Queensland, Australia.

Jodie O’Shannassy

“My minister used the Leading From Your Strengths profiles and process at a church leadership weekend,” says Jodie. “I got so much insight about myself that I decided to share the process with my own team.”

Jodie’s pastoral care volunteers at Toowoomba Base Hospital meet every morning for devotions before visiting patients on the wards. Jodie introduced the profiles to these volunteers as a way to learn more about each other so they could provide the best care possible for patients.

Which is just what was needed for these volunteers who listen, provide counsel, and offer hope to so many hurting patients and families.

Develop Volunteer Strengths and Build a Team

One or two staff chaplains cannot provide the level of coverage that an entire pastoral team is able to offer for Toowomba Base Hospital’s 384 beds.

For this reason, Jodie and her colleagues in leadership spend a tremendous amount of time recruiting, training, mentoring and coaching pastoral care volunteers. In turn, the volunteers work very closely together to ensure that hospital patients, families, and staff receive the spiritual and emotional support they need. Empathy and depth are intrinsic to their role.

And while existing team members got along well, explains Jodie, new members joining the team means an adjustment for everyone. The Leading From Your Strengths process has played a key role in helping new members assimilate onto the team and onboard into their pastoral care role smoothly.

“People often feel misunderstood or embarrassed about their ‘personality,’ says Jodie. “The LFYS tool allows team members to share openly and in a safe space about who they are, how they think, and why they do the things they do.”

Honesty and fun prevailed during the LFYS debriefing process as team members discussed different ways they approach situations with patients and shared how patient situations affect each of them differently. “There has been a new depth to the relationships around our table and people are genuinely interested in discovering ‘who’ the other people they serve with really are,” says Jodie.

The volunteers were quite taken by the different strengths that showed up in their peers and were even surprised with their personal results. Margaret’s strengths, for instance, were reported on the task-oriented side of The Strengths Wheel. Yet she had always believed herself to be more people-oriented. After some conversation, group members suggested that maybe people were her task. This insight made so much sense to other team members that several have since said that they understand Margaret’s behavior much better.

Since the initial LFYS training and debrief, the team has arranged to get together regularly to talk about their discoveries. “The team still bring up the results of the profiles in discussions and use the concepts to ask questions and gain understanding about each other,” says Jodie. “It has been encouraging to watch the inquisitive conversations.” The group is committed to being more intentional about finding out how and why others feel, think, and respond to patient situations the way they do.

Recognize Staff Strengths and Translate for Them

The hospital’s pace and environment of urgency can mean compassion is not always translated as accurately as medical professionals would like. But thanks to the profiles, Jodie’s team of pastoral care volunteers have more understanding around how people react to circumstances and can put that insight to use.

Stephanie, for instance, encountered a doctor who responded abruptly to patient and family questions.  As an advocate for the patient’s emotional well-being and dignity, Stephanie knew she needed to intervene. Yet because of her LFYS training, she understood the doctor’s motivation.  “I could see he was highly task-oriented and wanted the patient to do the task he was requesting to achieve a positive outcome,” said Stephanie.

She was able to immediately communicate those insights to the patient and his family. By quickly acknowledging the doctor’s concern for the patient, Stephanie helped bring about a much more helpful and pleasant interaction for all.

“The profiles help us not only to recognize our strengths as pastoral care providers, but to see strengths in the staff, too,” says Jodie. “We  can ‘translate’ that compassion to patients and families who need understanding in the middle of difficult circumstances.”

Jodie is convinced that any leader, regardless of the workplace setting, can benefit from using Leading From Your Strengths.

“It is vitally important that managers and bosses involve themselves in the Leading From Your Strengths process with their teams,” says Jodie. “If you’re a leader, you’ll find a treasure in this tool because it will help you learn to manage people and equip them to use their strengths.”

Jodie O’Shannassy is a hospital chaplain with Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service in Queensland, Australia. She also serves with Hop N Hymns, a local music ministry that provides church worship music and pub outreach in rural communities. Jodie lives in Toowoomba, Queensland, where she is an active member of St Bart’s Anglican Church.

More About Volunteer Leadership Development

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Certified practitioner Mary Morgan led her team on a successful retreat using the LFYS process

Preparation with the Profiles Leads to Staff Retreat Success

Mary Morgan saw the Ministry Insights Equipping Conference email invitation and thought, This is so affordable – I could become certified and develop skills to help our team.

Certified practitioner Mary Morgan led her team on a successful retreat using the LFYS process

Mary Morgan

The timing was just right.

Mary, the executive pastor at Good News Church (Sioux Falls, SD), had become acquainted with Leading From Your Strengths a few years earlier when the church staff worked together through a 9-month discipleship process. The program included the LFYS profiles.

Since then the church staff’s makeup had changed and Mary, whose responsibilities include staff development, knew it was time for some team building. “Our staff is very diverse. We get along pretty well given how different we are,” says Mary. “But I knew we could grow and do better if we understood each other’s differences.”

After attending the Equipping Conference in the summer, Mary set about preparing each individual staff member for the fall retreat. Those steps of preparation, she says, were pivotal in leading to an informational team retreat experience and building a cohesive team.

Each Member Processed the Profiles One-on-One

In the weeks leading up to the retreat, Mary used her one-on-one weekly meetings with staff members to spend time processing each one’s LFYS assessment. “Together, we went through their profile step by step,” says Mary. “I asked the staff member to choose three sentences or phrases from each paragraph or section that was true about him or her – and we discussed them one at a time.”

The assessment was a tool that helped us open up. “We talked about specific situations and how that team member handled things differently than others,” says Mary.” By the time the staff came together for the retreat, each member had thoroughly digested their individual profiles, understood their personal strengths, and had a basic grasp of what the others brought to the team, too.

The Staff Processed the Profiles Together

The Equipping Conference not only gave Mary the tools she needed to coach each staff member through his or her individual profile but also prepared her to lead the team building process.

She structured the retreat to closely follow Rodney Cox’s conference presentation. During the opening session, Mary explained the biblical foundation for the Mystery of Differences and ended the evening with devotional material and time for individual reflection. The next morning, Session 2 opened with hands-on exercises and teaching that explained the Law of Differences.

For the final session, Mary distributed packets that included a one-page consolidated summary profile (prepared by Ministry Insights) for each person, as well as the team’s Strengths Wheel. One at a time around the circle, each team member shared one piece of information from their consolidated report. The rest of the team members responded and affirmed ways they recognized that strength in the team member and how that strength contributed to the team. Then they started around the circle again with another sentence or phrase from the report until each person had walked through their consolidated report with the team.

“It took all afternoon,” says Mary. “But the staff said the final session was one of their favorite parts of the retreat. It allowed them to articulate the value of each other’s differences.”

For instance, one staff member ranked a 10 as a reflective problem solver while four others scored a 10 as aggressive problem solvers – the widest difference margin possible. “We joked about how he must feel outnumbered,” says Mary. Yet as a result of the discussion, the team affirmed the value that the Reflective’s questions bring to decisions. “He’s not just trying to slow us down,” says Mary. “He’s trying to make sure we haven’t missed ideas or ways of doing things that would cause unnecessary conflicts – and he learned to appreciate when an Aggressive says, ‘now we’ve talked about it and we just need to get going.’”

Two Key Preparations Culminate in Retreat Success

Two facets of preparation, says Mary, contributed to the retreat’s resounding success: her training at the Equipping Conference and the time she spent with each staff member to process their individual profiles before the retreat.

She arrived at the conference with copies of her staff’s completed assessments so she could understand how to process them while she was trained – and even get advice from Ministry Insights staff. “The Equipping Conference prepared me to walk through the profiles with each staff member individually and gave me the material and structure for the retreat,” says Mary.

Once home, she purposefully set about to process the individual profiles with each staff member over a three-month period The training showed her how to affirm each person’s strengths and speak into the other side. “I was able to truly coach,” says Mary. “The time and money spent on the certification and training was worth every penny for me as a leader and for our team.”

“For me and the staff, the LFYS process has been an incredible tool,” says Mary. “Our retreat was the culmination of an invaluable season of growth and discovery.”

Mary Morgan, executive pastor of Good News Church (Sioux Falls, SD), has been a part of the Good News staff since 2006. She is a Ministry Insights Leading From Your Strengths certified trainer. Mary and her husband Bill, an antique dealer, live in Sioux Falls. They have 2 adult children one of whom is married and has made them grandparents to two foster grandsons and a new baby granddaughter.

More Ways To Use The Profiles

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Roger Yancey Uses Profiles to Help Build Church Teams

Gerry Lewis Uses Profiles to Help Leaders Battle Burnout

Jon Taylor led his church staff in a successful transition to a team leadership model.

Profiles Help 3 Pastors Successfully Transition to New Team Model

Jon Taylor moved into the lead pastor role at First Christian Church of Phoenix during a major staff transition: the church shifted to a team leadership model.

Jon Taylor led his church staff in a successful transition to a team leadership model.

Jon Taylor

Two factors helped pave the way for the transition. First, Jon had been serving at the church as executive pastor, so he was already familiar with the staff and ministry. And fortunately, Jon had recently read Leading From Your Strengths: Building Close-Knit Ministry Teams by John Trent, Rodney Cox, and Eric Tooker and then completed his own Leading From Your Strengths profile assessment.

The Leading From Your Strengths profiles, says Jon, played a key role in the team’s successful transition to the new staff framework.

Data Helped 3 Pastors Transition Well Together

Three pastors, including Jon, formed the new executive leadership team. Together with the rest of the staff, they completed their profiles and attended a Leading From Your Strengths event where they walked through the results under the guidance of Rodney Cox.

“We had some powerful ‘ah ha!’ moments,” says Jon.

Those moments allowed the trio to gain understanding of each other’s strengths, paving the way for a smooth transition.  Each had different roles – in teaching, development, and administration – but “we had to learn to work as a unit,” said Jon.

Jon’s profile showed a strong bent to reflective problem-solving. He takes time and considers all options and angles before moving forward. One of his co-leaders, however, makes decisions quickly and firmly, which explained his high score as an aggressive problem-solver.

“It was uncanny how the scores showed we could balance each other,” says Jon. In one instance, when a conflict arose with a staff member, the aggressive co-leader was ready to take action immediately. Jon, however, encouraged caution. “Literally the next day, as we sat down for a meeting, my co-leader told me it had been right to wait,” said Jon. On other occasions, Jon’s co-leader came to him with these words: “You have been thinking about this one particular issue for a while. It’s time to pull the trigger one way or another.”

Humility was the key to putting the profiles into practice, says Jon. Each of the three leaders understood his strengths and did not set them aside. Instead, they were able to recognize when another team member’s approach was the best way and yield to it.

Data Helped Team Members Affirm One Another

Jon subsequently obtained certification as a LFYS facilitator and used the profiles several times for team building with his staff. Most helpful were the moments when each member self-identified one or two sentences on their individual reports that are most important to them. “By articulating one or two sentences, each staff member communicated what they wanted others to value in them,” says Jon. “Co-workers affirmed those strengths in that moment and thereafter, too.”

The FCC staff went further with the LFYS process by using Position Insights to write job descriptions for new staff openings. While they did not choose new staff solely based on their profiles, the assessments were part of the interview process with candidates. Then together the entire team plotted their strengths on the Strengths Wheel and identified gaps in strengths to articulate how they must compensate together.

Data Helped Individual Leaders Have a Voice

When one Type A-personality elder pressed Jon to develop an aggressive leadership style, Jon was able to use the data from his profile to put together a document that explained his strengths and how those strengths could benefit his team as a leader. That document paved the way for a frank and helpful conversation with the elder. Jon was able to express confidence in the elder’s ability to receive the information and use it because the document provided concrete ways Jon interacts and communicates best.

“The profile gave me the language and data I needed during the transition and beyond to express myself,” says Jon.

Soon after beginning to use the profiles with his staff, Jon became interested in coaching. His first clients found him through the church and via referrals. He uses the LFYS assessment as a discovery tool to supplement the coaching process, particularly in life purpose coaching, and now in his work with Coaching Mission International to provide coaching support, encouragement, and feedback for cross-cultural mission workers so they can complete their calling.

“LFYS helps individuals to discover their strengths and helps teams to function better,” says Jon. “I am a huge fan and I strongly recommend any coach, pastor, or leader to use this tool in their ministry.”

Jon Taylor serves as Coaching Mission International executive director after serving 17 years on staff at First Christian Church of Phoenix, AZ including 10 years as lead pastor. He is a consultant for CSA Perspective and a Ministry Insights Leading From Your Strengths certified trainer. Jon and his wife June live in Phoenix, AZ and have 2 adult sons.

More About Successful Transitions

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man worshipping at sunset

Quick Insight: Adapted Strengths – It Feels Good to Stretch Once In a While

Insights are short, biblical truths to equip you to lead from your strengths.

When God calls you to a one-time situation that is radical for you, how do you respond?

You may push back because you lack discernment (“I cannot confirm that God is calling me to do this because it seems so outrageous”) or because of you discomfort (“If this task used my natural strengths, I would do it. But it’s just not me.”)

But that is precisely why God gives you adapted strengths – those unique abilities He calls you to use in certain pivot point situations. And here’s another surprise: using your adapted strengths once in a while can feel good.

Here’s an Insight: Don’t Fight Your Adapted Strengths

man worshipping at sunsetJoseph of Arimathea was a wealthy, respected member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council of leaders.

But he was scared of them.

Joseph was considered to be wary, meticulous, and compliant. Even so, he had not consented to the Council’s decision to kill Jesus. His opposition was completely out of character for Joseph, whose extreme Structured personality exercised overwhelming caution when it came to taking risks. Ramifications would be significant if other members of the council knew that Joseph secretly followed Jesus as Israel’s Messiah.

But the crucifixion awakened Joseph’s adapted strengths and revealed his true faith. In a completely unconventional and almost reckless (for him) move, Joseph requested Jesus’ body from Pilate, prepared the body for burial, and laid Jesus in his own tomb.

He stretched.

Surely his action caused leaders’ tongues to wag, for Joseph’s actions are referenced in all four gospels.

Adapted Strengths Are Stretchy

Your natural strengths are your unique manner or approach to carrying out tasks. Some may even refer to your strengths as “personality.” On the other hand, your adapted strengths are adjustments you make to your environment. They indicate the behavior that may not be most natural to you or that’s even a stretch.

If you regularly use your adapted strengths, you are likely to become stressed and exhausted. That’s why it’s healthy to seek ways to use your natural strengths routinely in your home environment, work environment, and other relationships.

But from time to time, God will call on you to stretch.

Take Joseph of Arimathea, for instance. His adapted strength represents one of the largest movements possible, from a naturally extreme low-risk taker who exercised overwhelming caution (a 9 or 10 on the Risk Taking scale) to a fearless, bold, almost reckless Pioneer ( a 9 or10 on the Risk Taking scale.)

God called him to use that adapted strength in a particular situation.

There will be times when He calls you to use your adapted strengths, too. But God has equipped you to do so. Adapted strengths are for specific situations and for specific purposes – even when you cannot discern the specific purpose or when the stretching feels unnatural.

In fact, the stretch might even reveal your true faith and allow you to grow. And maybe that’s what God intends all along.

Go ahead and stretch. You might be surprised that once in a while, it feels good.

 

Now How Should I Live?

Read the story of Joseph of Arimathea in John 19:38-42.

  • How did God equip Joseph of Arimathea for this specific situation?
  • Why was this situation a stretch for Joseph?
  • God doesn’t call you without equipping you (Hebrews 13:21). How does that truth encourage you?

More About Adapted Strengths

How Are You Having to Adapt?

Where Do You “Cross the Line” of Strengths and What Does It Mean?

Strengths vs. Gifts: What’s the Difference?

Pastor Jobs

No announcement available or all announcement expired.[three_fourth]Take control of your next ministry move! You do not want to just take any pastorate.  You want to take the one where you are empowered to lead from your strengths.

pastor jobPastors are more burned out than ever and the trend seems to still be headed in the wrong direction. Burnout is normally a symptom of a larger root issue – job fit.

While the education, skills, and training to be a pastor might be similar but what it takes to be a great pastor in one church environment could swing drastically in another. In other words, you could be struggling at one church and a simple environment change, that caters to your strengths, could put you back on the path to thriving.

The Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS) Profile will help you discover your natural God-given leadership strengths and empower you to take control of your next move in ministry.

Although the profile questionnaire is quick and simple to complete, less than 10 minutes, it provides sophisticated data in a 20-page report in the following sections:

Introduction: a detailed overview of the report contents.

Your Natural Strengths

  • Your Natural Strengths Scales: a narrative explanation of the four scales used to measure your natural strengths: problem solving, processing information, managing change, and facing risk.
  • Your Natural Strengths Chart: a visual picture in graph form representing your natural strengths in the four predictable areas: problem solving, processing information, managing change, facing risk.
  • General Characteristics: a narrative summary which summarizes a broad understanding of your strengths.
  • Value to the Team: a list of specific talents and strengths that you bring to a team.

Communication

  • Do’s in Communicating: a checklist for others to use with you (or for you to specify to others) that outlines action steps they can take to communicate effectively with you.
  • Don’ts in Communicating: a checklist for others to use with you (or for you to specify to others) that outlines communication methods that frustrate you or reduce your performance.

Environment

  • Ideal Environment: a list of duties, responsibilities, and environments that allow you to flourish and those that may frustrate you.

Leading and Motivating

  • Keys to Motivating: a list of what can motivate you, based on your wants and values.
  • Keys to Leading: a list of what you need from a leader so that you can perform at your optimum level.
  • Areas for Improvement: a list of your natural limitations or tendencies, allowing you to create an action plan for moving forward.

Self-Understanding

  • Perceptions: a list of ways you see yourself and ways others see you.

Your Adapted Strengths

  • Strengths Movement: a narrative explanation of strengths movement – the measure of how your current environment impacts your strengths positively and negatively.
  • Strengths Movement Chart: a visual picture in graph form of both your natural strengths and the impact of your current environment on those strengths, presented in the four predictable areas: problem solving, processing information, managing change, facing risk.
  • How Are You Having to “Adapt”?: a list of descriptions of how you may feel you need to respond to your current environment to be accepted.
  • Natural and Adapted Style: a side-by-side comparison of your natural strengths style and your adapted style, revealing the stress and pressure you may feel when you adapt your natural style to your current environment.
  • The Ministry Insights Strengths Wheel: a narrative and visual explanation that shows you and your team understand your collective strengths.

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About Profiles ::

About Leading From Your Strengths Profiles

Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS) Profiles are personalized, detailed 20-page reports which accurately describe your individual habitual patterns of behavior, thought, emotion, and communication. They provide you with sophisticated, objective insights and action steps about your unique strengths – data you and your team can use immediately and long-term.

man at laptopProfile reports are compiled and presented instantaneously after you or a team member completes a simple, 10-minute online questionnaire. Results are delivered immediately by email.

The questionnaire

The questionnaire consists of 24 boxes. Each box contains four adjectives we call “descriptors.” The user reads each of the four descriptors and chooses which one describe what he is most like and least like.

It’s that simple.

The profile report

Although the profile questionnaire is quick and simple to complete, it provides sophisticated data in a 20-page report in the following sections:

Introduction: a detailed overview of the report contents.

Your Natural Strengths

  • Your Natural Strengths Scales: a narrative explanation of the four scales used to measure your natural strengths: problem solving, processing information, managing change, and facing risk.
  • Your Natural Strengths Chart: a visual picture in graph form representing your natural strengths in the four predictable areas: problem solving, processing information, managing change, facing risk.
  • General Characteristics: a narrative summary which summarizes a broad understanding of your strengths.
  • Value to the Team: a list of specific talents and strengths that you bring to a team.

Communication

  • Do’s in Communicating: a checklist for others to use with you (or for you to specify to others) that outlines action steps they can take to communicate effectively with you.
  • Don’ts in Communicating: a checklist for others to use with you (or for you to specify to others) that outlines communication methods that frustrate you or reduce your performance.

Environment

  • Ideal Environment: a list of duties, responsibilities, and environments that allow you to flourish and those that may frustrate you.

Leading and Motivating

  • Keys to Motivating: a list of what can motivate you, based on your wants and values.
  • Keys to Leading: a list of what you need from a leader so that you can perform at your optimum level.
  • Areas for Improvement: a list of your natural limitations or tendencies, allowing you to create an action plan for moving forward.

Self-Understanding

  • Perceptions: a list of ways you see yourself and ways others see you.

Your Adapted Strengths

  • Strengths Movement: a narrative explanation of strengths movement – the measure of how your current environment impacts your strengths positively and negatively.
  • Strengths Movement Chart: a visual picture in graph form of both your natural strengths and the impact of your current environment on those strengths, presented in the four predictable areas: problem solving, processing information, managing change, facing risk.
  • How Are You Having to “Adapt”?: a list of descriptions of how you may feel you need to respond to your current environment to be accepted.
  • Natural and Adapted Style: a side-by-side comparison of your natural strengths style and your adapted style, revealing the stress and pressure you may feel when you adapt your natural style to your current environment.
  • The Ministry Insights Strengths Wheel: a narrative and visual explanation that shows you and your team understand your collective strengths.

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Why Use Profiles::

Why Use the Profiles?

Of all places, the Christian church should be a refuge from the relational battles that rage in our culture. But harmony and reconciliation are not flourishing in the body. Rather, today’s ministries and churches are routinely characterized by division – or at best, the status quo.

teamGod’s plan offers something much better than that. He created every member of a team with unique strengths (1 Corinthians 12) … strengths that are meant to blend together to build His Kingdom.

Often leaders are unaware that the differences in their people actually represent enormous strengths. But once leaders recognize the need to pursue God’s plan for differences with their staffs and teams, the results are life-changing.

Here are just some of the reasons leaders like you have used Leading From Your Strengths profiles with their teams – with transformational results.

Churches

Ministry leaders struggle to have positive, productive relationships within their staff and among congregations as never before. But as conflicts deepen, fractured relationships lead to burnout. Here are some truths about what is happening in churches today:

  • Each month, 1,600 pastors are terminated or forced to resign their pulpits.
  • 50% of pastors have considered leaving the ministry in the last six months.
  • 85% seminary graduates who enter full-time ministry will not survive in the ministry more than 5 years.
  • 61% pastors admit that they “have few close friends.”
  • Only 1 out of every 10 pastors will actually be in some form of professional ministry upon retirement.
  • Leaders cite the number one reason they leave the church is conflict.

Sources: The Alban Institute, The Barna Group, The Fuller Institute, Pastoral Care, Inc., SBC LeaderCare Program, Sunscape Ministries of Colorado

Workplaces

“Genuine teamwork remains as elusive as it has ever been,” according to executive team development consultant Patrick Lencioni. “The foundational dysfunction is an absence of trust.” This lack of trust leads to fear of conflict. Christian ministries are not immune, but rather experience the same kinds of relational struggle as mainstream commercial enterprises.

  • A recent study of 1,736 ministry leaders concluded one of their lowest-rated priorities is creating a healthy corporate culture.
  • 40% of staff members in Christian organizations feel there is not a high level of trust between senior management and employees.
  • 46% of workers in Christian organizations describe themselves as “neutral” or “unengaged.”
  • 85% of leaders say their greatest problem is dealing with difficult people, such as disgruntled or uncooperative staff members, board members, and colleagues.

Sources: Best Christian Places to Work Institute, The Barna Group, Patrick Lencioni in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”

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Ways To Use Profiles ::

Ways To Use Profiles

Leading Form Your Strengths (LFYS) profiles allow leaders and teams to understand themselves, each other, and work more effectively together. After completing a simple individual online questionnaire, leaders and teams receive personalized reports which help them discover their God-given strengths. This objective, positive date allows teams to complete each other to build their ministry.

team leader with teammatesHere are practical steps you can take to use your team’s profile information to build a powerful, energizing environment in your team both short- and long-term.

Complete an individual questionnaire

Leaders often forget that they, too, are members of a team. By filling out the questionnaire, you will not only learn about yourself but you will also provide valuable information to team members about yourself. Fill out the profile questionnaire and read the resulting report. Note what you learn from it or how the report confirms what you already know. Review the action steps. See which ones you can implement right away.

Get feedback

Allow the people closest to you to read your report – not just those on your team, but also family members and close friends. Discuss it with them. Have them ask questions about the statements and descriptions provided. The profile is designed not only for your personal use, but for sharing.

Discover your team members’ strengths

Ask your team members to complete the profile questionnaire. Read their reports. Talk about the results with each person individually and ask for their input. Share your report with them. Challenge them to take one or two of their own action steps as soon as possible.

Learn more about the strengths movement

Read Leading From Your Strengths: Building Close-Knit Ministry Teams.

Learn how to apply profile report data

Download the free Leading From Your Strengths Workbook. Go through it on your own to gain deeper insights about your individual report. Ask team members to do the same.

Implement strengths principles as you lead

Take our free online Leadership Course to understand how to implement strengths principles into your leadership skill set.

Use profile report data as a team

Work through the Leading From Your Strengths Team Building Discovery Kit with your team. Identify which actions step to take as a team short-term and long-term.

Invite a LFYS certified practitioner to guide your team

Certified trainers are available worldwide to help you interpret and apply profile report results for you and your team.

When Leading From Your Strengths Profile data is implemented in both the immediate short-term and over time, it will direct you and your team into a whole new trajectory of working together using your individual and team strengths.

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Free Workbook::

Leading From Your Strengths Workbook

Leading From Your Strengths Workbook coverThe 16-page Leading From Your Strengths Workbook, a free download, is a self-paced manual that complements the Leading From Your Strengths Profile. The workbook helps you get the most out of your profile by walking you through every section of your personal report. Questions help you dig deeper into the most important personal information from the report and gain insight – so you can create goals to apply to your life and impact your ministry.

Download the Leading From Your Strengths Workbook.

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How To Buy Profiles::

How to Buy Leading From Your Strengths Profiles

African American womanProfiles (made up of an online questionnaire and subsequent report) can be purchased at this website using an email address and a valid credit card (Visa, Master Card, Discover, or American Express). Your personal information is safe through our secure shopping cart system. Take these steps:

  • Click on “Add to Cart” at the right to select a profile or set of profiles.
  • Fill out the online order form completely. Billing information needs to match the credit card’s billing address to complete your order.
  • View and print your receipt displayed onscreen at the end of the checkout process. You’ll also receive a copy by email.
  • Look in the email for your single-use password code, which you will use to complete your online profile assessment.
  • Once you complete the online questionnaire (in 10 minutes or less), results will be delivered immediately to your inbox.
  • Your credit card statement will show charges to Ministry Insights or Insights International.

Where to take the inventory

Profiles can be purchased and completed at anytime, from any Internet-connected computer in the world. Your results will be delivered immediately to your inbox.

How to purchase profiles for other people, such as members of your staff or team

When you purchase profiles online, you will receive a receipt for your complete purchase including the response codes and assessment website in an email titled Profile Fulfillment.

The email will include instructions for assigning each individual a code, including the assessment site address they can click on and a personalized response link (single-use response code) to use in order to complete the questionnaire. Recipients go to the website, enter their single-use password code, and complete the questionnaire.  You will instruct each respondent individually by email.

How to order profiles in other languages

The Leading From Your Strengths profile is fully translated into Spanish, meaning both the online questionnaire and the profile results are available in Spanish. To choose this option, log onto the questionnaire website and select Spanish from the response language drop-down menu. Both your online questionnaire and profile results will be in Spanish. You, as purchaser, will receive the profile results in English. If you are both purchaser and respondent, you will receive two sets of results, one in English and one in Spanish.

The online questionnaire can be completed in more than 30 languages by simply selecting a different language option at the questionnaire website. However, profile results are provided only in English (or Spanish, if you so designate). View the available questionnaire languages at www.justrespond.com by clicking on the drop-down menu in the upper right corner.

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What People Say::

What People Say About Leading From Your Strengths Profiles

4 people blurry“Prison Fellowship uses the Leading From Your Strengths profile and training materials for our Leadership Institute. We want to keep our focus on serving the Lord and advancing His Kingdom. We use LFYS to train our staff on solving problems before they surface, as a coaching tool to help resolve conflict with a ministry team, and placing staff in positions that match their strengths abilities.”
Charles W. Colson (1931-2012)
Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon; founder of Prison Fellowship, noted Christian leader and cultural commentator

“Past experiences with other tests made me skeptical of taking the assessment even though I like graphs and tests. Nevertheless, at the advice of my coach, I took the Leading From Your Strengths profile. I admit I think it is the real deal. The profile has helped me understand myself and even my place in the world better. I’ve been hardwired by God to be the way I am. The things about myself I used to think of as a kind of a curse I am now growing to understand as actual gifts, because God crafted me like this. I am learning to embrace my introversion as a strength and not a deficiency of some sort – a complete reversal from what I have felt all my life.
Young widower

“Demand for the Leading From Your Strengths profiles is really building in Australia.  Last month I led a group of 20 with Arrow New Zealand and another group of 20 with World Vision Australia through the profile and team building process. People love the profiles. It brings me so much joy when people find their reports helpful and start applying the information straight away. What excites me most is that people feel empowered to then use the Team Building Kit with their own teams. I like it when people ask me, “Can you come and run this with my team?” to which I answer, “Yes I can, but why don’t you?”
Julian Dunham
Arrow Leadership, Australia

“I am very glad to endorse Ministry Insights and its Leading From Your Strengths profile as a powerful personality inventory tool.”
Dr. Dan Reinhardt, President
CREST Leadership

“Leading From Your Strengths assessment is like a breath of fresh air for finding your “place” in the world and for enriching ALL your relationships. The profile provides an awareness that helps us embrace our own personalities and the personalities of others in our sphere of influence. Thank you, Ministry Insights, for this treasure!”
Pam Taylor Level I Certified Life Coach
Loaves and Fishes Life Coaching

“I was blessed to use the Leading From Your Strengths assessments with 15 nationals in Beijing in the context of conflict resolution. This is a concept the Chinese don’t know how to verbalize. It is very important to “save face” and they go out of their way to avoid conflict. However, when we used the graphs to show them how God made them, it was liberating for them, especially as they viewed how they adapt to their environment. One pastor, in particular, was clearly frustrated and hurting in adapting to his environment. Through my interpreter, I told him that he may feel like he wasn’t effective but explained that it was his environment causing this tension. He started crying uncontrollably. As it turned out, his mission board had him as a church planter yet he was obviously an administrator as per his profile. God liberated that man that day. I cannot describe the look of relief and renewed passion I saw the next morning when he came back for class. He was a new man.”
Tom Anthony, Master Chaplain, T2 Ministries

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Profile FAQs::

Leading From Your Strengths Profile FAQs

Q. What’s the difference between Leading From Your Strengths Profiles and your other profile products?
A. Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS) Profiles are personalized, detailed 20-page reports which accurately describe your individual habitual patterns of behavior, thought, emotion, and communication. They provide you with sophisticated, objective insights and action steps about your unique strengths – data you and your team can use immediately and long-term. All Ministry Insights profile products draw upon the same principle: every person is uniquely gifted and contribute to his or her work environment, marriage, or family. Each profile set analyzes your one-of-a-kind personality information and equips you to use your strengths in that particular setting (Leading From Your Strengths Profiles in your work setting, Marriage Insights Profiles in your marriage, and Family Insights Profile in your family.)

2 people meeting at a coffee shopQ. Can I purchase profiles for other people, such as members of my team?
Yes. When you purchase profiles online, you will designate an email delivery address (or addresses) on the order form. You will receive a receipt for your purchase onscreen. Simultaneously, an email is delivered to the address(es) you designate, which includes a web site address and a personalized response link (single-use password). Recipients go to the website, enter their personalized response link, and complete the process.

Q. Should our team fill out our questionnaires together?
A. No. You and your team members should fill out profile questionnaires individually.

Q. Can I take the profile questionnaire if I am not at my own computer?
Yes. Profiles can be completed at anytime, from any Internet-connected computer in the world. Your results will be delivered immediately to your inbox.

Q. Are the profiles available in other languages in addition to English?
Currently, the Leading From Your Strengths profile is the only profile product fully translated into Spanish, meaning both the online questionnaire and the profile results are available in Spanish. To choose this option, log onto the questionnaire website (www.justrespond.com), and select Spanish from the response language drop-down menu. Both your online questionnaire and profile results will be in Spanish; the purchasing agent for the profile will receive the profile results in English. If the purchasing agent is the respondent, he will receive two sets of results, one in English and one in Spanish.

The online questionnaire can be completed in more than 30 languages by simply selecting a different language option at the questionnaire website. However, profile results are provided only in English (or Spanish). View the available questionnaire languages at www.justrespond.com by clicking on the drop-down menu in the upper right corner.

Q. How should we use the profile reports?
A. Sharing your profile results with your team will become a great springboard to increased communication and understanding. After both of you have completed the questionnaire and received your personal profile report, set aside time to discuss the results. Download the Leading From Your Strengths Workbook. Go through it on your own to gain deeper insights about your individual report. Ask team members to do the same. Use the Leading From Your Strengths Team-Building Discovery Kit with your team. Identify which actions step to take as a team short-term and long-term.

Q. What is the difference between Leading From Your Strengths Profiles and Position Insights Profiles?
A. The Leading From Your Strengths Profile is a personalized, 20-page report that captures the strengths of an individual after that person fills out a 10-minute questionnaire. The Position Insights Profile is a 12-page report, completed by a recruiting team answering questions about the strengths demands for a job, which provides a clear and accurate picture of the behavioral demands of a specific job or position. (Learn more about Position Insights Profiles here.)

Read more Frequently Asked Questions on our Profile FAQs page.
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Related Resources::
[jbox color=”yellow” icon=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/TBDK-75X67.gif” title=”Team Building Discovery Kit”]

The Leading From Your Strengths Team-Building Discovery Kit is the versatile and powerful turn-key curriculum that is designed to help you and your team better understand your unique strengths and how to blend and build those strengths.

Includes:

  • 10 one-hour training modules
  • DVD teaching featuring Dr. John Trent and Rodney Cox
  • Poster-sized LFYS “Strengths Wheel” to capture and compare your entire group’s strengths
  • Discount codes for participants’ on-line assessments
  • Audio book of Leading From Your Strengths
  • Memory aids for future team growth

Note: 3-5 day delivery

[icon_text url=”” color=”red” type=”icon_warning”] On Sale [/icon_text]$179.95 (Retail $249.00)

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[jbox color=”yellow” icon=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/cover-position-75X97.gif” title=”Position Insights Profile”]

Inviting the right people into ministry, whether paid or volunteer, can be one of the toughest challenges leaders, ministry teams and search committees face. To help you address that challenge, the Position Insights Profile will identify the strengths needed and what the demands of any position are before the recruiting process starts.

Note: Electronic codes are delivered instantly

$26.95


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[jbox color=”yellow” icon=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/cover-boo1-75X120.gif” title=”Leading From Your Strengths – Building Close-knit Ministry Teams”]

This book incorporates the Leading From Your Strengths Profile and illustrates key leadership and team principles in a clear, informative and entertaining manner. You’ll gain a greater understanding of your unique God-given strengths, the strengths of others on your team and how you will benefit by blending those strengths.

[icon_text url=”” color=”red” type=”icon_warning”] Free Shipping [/icon_text]$14.95


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RELATED RESOURCES

[jbox color=”yellow” icon=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/TBDK-75X67.gif” title=”Team Building Discovery Kit”]

The Leading From Your Strengths Team-Building Discovery Kit is the versatile and powerful turn-key curriculum that is designed to help you and your team better understand your unique strengths and how to blend and build those strengths.

Includes:

  • 10 one-hour training modules
  • DVD teaching featuring Dr. John Trent and Rodney Cox
  • Poster-sized LFYS “Strengths Wheel” to capture and compare your entire group’s strengths
  • Discount codes for participants’ on-line assessments
  • Audio book of Leading From Your Strengths
  • Memory aids for future team growth

Note: 3-5 day delivery

[icon_text url=”” color=”red” type=”icon_warning”] On Sale [/icon_text]$179.95 (Retail $249.00)

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[jbox color=”yellow” icon=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/cover-position-75X97.gif” title=”Position Insights Profile”]

Inviting the right people into ministry, whether paid or volunteer, can be one of the toughest challenges leaders, ministry teams and search committees face. To help you address that challenge, the Position Insights Profile will identify the strengths needed and what the demands of any position are before the recruiting process starts.

Note: Electronic codes are delivered instantly

$26.95


[/jbox]

[jbox color=”yellow” icon=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/cover-boo1-75X120.gif” title=”Leading From Your Strengths – Building Close-knit Ministry Teams”]

This book incorporates the Leading From Your Strengths Profile and illustrates key leadership and team principles in a clear, informative and entertaining manner. You’ll gain a greater understanding of your unique God-given strengths, the strengths of others on your team and how you will benefit by blending those strengths.

[icon_text url=”” color=”red” type=”icon_warning”] Free Shipping [/icon_text]$14.95


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[jbox color=”blue” vgradient=”#fdfeff|#bae3ff” shadow=”7″ title=”Purchase”]

LEADING FROM YOUR STRENGTHS

[icon_link url=”/wp-content/pdf/teambook.pdf” color=”red” type=”icon_download”]Download Free Workbook[/icon_link]

[icon_link url=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/LFYS-JohnDoe.pdf” color=”red” type=”icon_download”]Download Sample Report[/icon_link]

All electronic profile codes are instantly delivered via email after purchase.

$26.95

$259.50 (10 pack)

$623.75 (25 PACK)

$1197.50 (50 PACK)

$2295.00 (100 PACK)

$5487.50 (250 PACK)


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Churches: Profiles Are a Catalyst for Healing in a Local Church

“It was a horrible time,” says Tobi S.,* a staff member at Northeast Community Church* in a northeastern state.

teamThe 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.

powerhouse-strengths-wheelHe 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.”

Tobi’s* church continues the process of healing. The church has 30 active Life Groups that meet weekly and continues to grow; children’s ministry is expanding; the church welcomes new visitors every Sunday. We celebrate the God-given changes within Tobi’s church brought about after a difficult few years and are gratified the Leading From Your Strengths process could be part of the healing.

*names changed for confidentiality

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Coaching the Coaches with the Profiles

Profiles Help Tony Husted Build Credibility Professionally – and Personally

Christian life coach Tony Husted, co-founder of new personal development ministry Awyken, wasn’t always tuned into how others could best use their strengths. Yet today the Leading From Your Strengths profiles are an integral part of Tony’s coaching process, thanks in large part to a deeply personal experience.

Christian life coach Tony Husted

Tony Husted

“My daughter and I have very different personalities,” says Tony. “During her teen years, we had a tough time communicating.” The conflict between the two was compounded by distance, since Tony’s daughter lived 1,600 miles away with her mother.

At that time Tony was an emerging leader in Christian coaching, a new niche in the personal development arena. He was among the life coaches contacted by Ministry Insights to test drive the Leading From Your Strengths profiles. Professionally, the match proved to be providential fit. The profiles provide personalized data, which in turn Tony uses with his coaching clients.

But as Tony soon learned, the profile experience was quite personal too.

Profile Data Turns a Relationship Around

While Tony is a self-admitted go-getter, his daughter is quiet and reserved. To ease the tension between them and to give his daughter a treat during her visits, he often invited her to eat out. “We would get in the car and I asked her, ‘Where would you like to go for dinner?’” said Tony. “But she didn’t know the city and there were too many choices.” As Tony pressed, his daughter retreated. The pattern repeated itself over and over … and affected other areas of their relationship too. Soon, Tony’s daughter resented her visits with dad and phone communication between them became almost non-existent.

So when Tony completed his profile – and subsequently had his daughter complete the Teen Insights profile assessment – the results were stunning. “I wasn’t simply hit with a ton of bricks,” says Tony. “It was more like a quarry of boulders fell on my head.” Tony’s strong aggressive bent proved to be a stark contrast to his daughter’s reflective approach to solving problems. Their scores lay on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. Tony realized he had been communicating with his daughter in ways that fit his strengths, not hers.

Tony put the data into practice right away. The next time his daughter arrived for a visit he approached their dinner dates differently, giving her a heads-up about 20 minutes before they were to leave and listing 3 or 4 options to choose from. “She made a decision immediately,” says Tony. “She simply needed adequate information in order to choose.” Then as Tony applied the Dos and Don’ts for Communicating and other tools in the profile report, his relationship with his daughter transformed nearly overnight.

Profiles are the Foundation for One-on-One Coaching

That was 10 years ago. While today Tony focuses most of his energies on training new coaches, he continues to work with a small roster of coaching clients drawn from all sectors life – ministry leaders, pastors, professionals, couples, and even other coaches who are building their practices. Then as now, the profile is the basis for Tony’s one-on-one coaching. A client completes the assessment and processes the data with Tony before addressing deeper issues. The profiles provide the foundation for what comes next.

“What the world calls coaching, the Bible calls disciple-making,” says Tony. “Both coaching and disciple-making are about helping people make life choices that bring about a more God-filled life.” The difference, Tony explains, is that coaching offers a personalized approach to applying biblical principles – one that speaks to the individual’s strengths. For instance, a sermon’s message may offer a prescriptive application suited for a predictable personality, but what about the person whose strength is dynamic? When Christ-followers know their strengths, they can better apply biblical teaching to their lives. A coach can facilitate that process.

“Coaching changes the way we do ministry,” says Tony. He envisions coach in every church trained to equip others to find their strengths and live them out biblically.

Profiles Help Facilitate Coaching the Coaches

That vision to train large numbers of Christian life coaches led Tony and Awyken co-founder Ed Smith to sponsor an upcoming Leading From Your Strengths conference and launch Awyken’s two inaugural programs: the Christian Coaching Professional Certification (for leaders, pastors, life coaches, and counselors who want to add coaching to their skill set) and a the first-ever Christian Life Coaching Lay Certification (equipping any Christ-follower to use coaching in informal ministry, including small groups, worship support, children’s ministry, or administrative work.)

Tony often explains to new coaches why the Leading From Your Strengths profile provides credibility: in a field that provides the intangible benefits of personal development, the profile report provides tangible feedback. Coaches can use a new client’s profile data as bridge into first conversations and can immediately interact with the client in a style that is comfortable for him. The process reduces the learning curve in the new coach-client relationship and gets the relationship off on accurate and strong footing.

Profile Effects Prove to Be Long-Lasting

Yet no matter how often Tony has seen how the profiles bring about life transformation in clients and coaching students, his most memorable experience in discovering strengths is his own.

His relationship with his daughter continues to thrive. After high school, she chose to leave her Midwestern city to enroll in a university just ten minutes from her dad’s home – and following graduation, she opted to remain in the area near Tony.

“The profiles completely changed the way I communicate with her,” says Tony. “It transformed our relationship.”

Tony Husted is co-founder of Awyken, an innovative, biblically-based self-development ministry created to train Christian life coaches. Prior to becoming a life coach, Tony  served for seven years in the U.S. Army and then worked in sales, business development, training, and management. During his 10+ years as a Christian life coach, he has become certified as an International Coach Federation Professional Coach, NLP Coach, Solution-Focused Coach, NLP Master Practitioner, Certified NLP Health Practitioner, and a Leading from Your Strengths Certified Practitioner. Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Northwest University. He makes his home in Seattle, WA.

More about how other ministries use Leading From Your Strengths profiles

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Transitions: Canadian Leader Helps Midlifers, Teams Transition Well

Versatility: Pastor, Educator Uses Profiles Across Ministry Areas

Using the Profiles: Adventure Kit Helps Children Discover Their Strengths

Coaching: Ministry Consultant Uses Profiles to Grow Teams

Profiles Help Grow Young Leaders in the Latin American Church

Coaching: How to Help People Apply the Profile

Leadership: Building Up Leaders Down Under

One-on-One Coaching Leads to a Whole New Purpose

Successful Staffing Through Team Coaching