Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Resilience in Ministry

What contributes to resilience in ministry and hence enables finishing well?  Here in brief is my story and insights.  I responded to God’s call in my late teens while working in cartography.  When I entered theological college and university at age 20 my intellectual and theological life was fed in a new way. 

In my younger years my leadership gifts were recognised, but the leadership research and the articles and books of the last 25 years have helped enormously.  I am grateful to those who saw potential in me and who knowingly and unknowingly mentored me.  Hence I, in turn, willingly and intentionally mentor others.

What has kept me resilient?  Here is the heart of it:

First, I am sustained by God’s call to ministry and leadership. 
The sense that I was born for this has upheld me, especially in times of great challenge and opportunity.

Secondly, I work to my strengths. 
At Spiritual Gift Workshops I led many years ago, some ministers were frustrated that no gift stood out for them.  In doing a multitude of various tasks in ministry they had no time to focus on their strengths and gifts.  I decided then that I would not follow that pattern.  Also, using the Clifton StrengthsFinder and Leading From Your Strengths profiles has been of enormous value.  I pattern my life to bear the fruit that comes from the strategic use of my dominant spiritual gifts, passions and strengths.

Thirdly, in later years I planned my life so that, from the time I reached 60, I would give myself to building into the next generation of leaders.
Hence, now that I am officially in ‘retirement’ I have far more than retirement to look forward to!

Fourthly, I endeavour to be open to 360 mentoring or mentoring up (learning from the generations following me).
Discipleship for me has always meant a willingness to learn.  I take to heart Proverbs 1: 4-5, “to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young – let the wise also hear and also gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill.”

Fifthly, I make sure I am in mutually rewarding ongoing close relationships with a few chosen people within and outside ministry. 
I have decided who I want to connect with at a deeper level for the rest of my life.

Finally, I soak myself in the Word.
I love using the Bible offensively and self-feeding my mind and soul.  Though I expound scripture in my teaching and preaching, over recent years I have read the Bible daily and have found helpful personal edification from keeping a journal of the revelations I receive.

Rev Dr Dean Brookes

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