Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some reflections

It has been refreshing to read Introverts in the Church. People are a bundle of things, including temperament, which like the rest of the world has been damaged by Original Sin. It's been almost a year since the SOUL Church debacle and in the meantime I've done a fair bit of thinking about who I am, my weaknesses, my strengths and how my temperament shapes my philosophy of ministry.
The three big weaknesses I've focused on are confidence, clarity and self-awareness. (Thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit I believe I'm growing in each of these.) My three big areas of strength I've decided to prioritise are; imagination, integrity and determination. (Amy has encouraged me to embrace and enjoy them.) Then there are some inter-personal tools I've sharpened up on, such as not taking criticism personally. (Some counselling helped here.) What's been important about reading Introverts in the Church is untangling my temperament from the expectations of others in ministry. As an introvert I thrive on reflecting about ideas, need solitude to recharge my energy and can sometimes draw a blank or get stressed in situations requiring fast-paced verbal interactions. Some of the things that got me in trouble at SOUL, such as asking questions or making sure people didn't fall through the gaps of pastoral care I'll keep doing enthusiastically.
However looking back at the last nine years since beginning the path to become a church leader I've realised that I need to be both a little more positive about those around me, while also a little suspicious (in a healthy Suspicion and Faith sort of way!) and less naive. Introverts in the Church encourages introverts to create a "rule of life" where you pace yourself to be both productive while avoiding  burnout. Most recently it's been very useful to be around Mikey (my AFES campus director) who, although he has a slightly different philosophy of ministry, has encouraged me in several significant areas of productivity. For example, using multiple discrete projects with accompanying deadlines instead of filling the week with busy-work to appear godly or please people. Or in the area of communication: building prosaic bridges from my ideas to the audience or congregation. I'm looking forward to applying these insights and seeing what the future holds.

[Evangeline and I on Pilgrim Hill during a work-day earlier this year. Photo by Jordan de Hoog.]