GREENSBORO — Every church leader wants to have a strong, healthy church.
But many go about finding those strengths the wrong way, said Joe Cavanaugh, an associate partner with Gallup Faith, who led a breakout session Nov. 11 called “The Power of Strengths and Engagement with Staff, Members and Leadership.”
A strong, healthy church knows and utilizes the talent of its members.
“Your God-given talents begin to take shape from the moment you are born … actually before you were born,” Cavanaugh said. “When I was in grade school, I was told I was like a little snowflake. I was unique. But then I was treated like everybody else.”
In order to “do what you do best,” you need to be able to identify your greatest talents — naturally reoccurring patterns of thoughts, feeling or behaviors.
Using the Clifton StrengthFinders, research done over 30 years with two million people, Cavanaugh shared some key points found about discovering strengths.
A person’s top five signature themes occurs once in 33.4 million people; the top 10 occurs once in 447 trillion.
“Each of us are created for this moment in time,” he said. “Even those … who we consider weak are indispensable. You will be successful because of who God created you to be … not because of who you are not.”
When Cavanaugh served at a church for 20 years he realized that 80 percent of the ministry is done by 20 percent of the people.
He said the lack of involvement wasn’t because of laziness.
“The No. 1 reason is they don’t believe they’re gifted or talented,” Cavanaugh said.
While it is necessary to discover your church members’ talents, churches cannot ignore weaknesses either, he said.
“All of us were created to be mutually interdependent … but we don’t know how,” he said.
“ Our gifts and our talents aren’t for my benefit. They’re for the benefit of others.”
The idea that people are designed for one another is totally counterintuitive to today’s culture.
Many pastors make the mistake of trying to do everything.
“Those things that are draining the life out of you you’re not supposed to be doing,” Cavanaugh said.
Many churches measure strength by membership, attendance and giving, only one (giving) of which is an indicator of spiritual health in the church. Membership shows who signs up and attendance who shows up.
“Focusing on outcomes doesn’t work,” Cavanaugh said.
Engaging or involving church members is key to strengthening churches, he said.
“It’s about rediscovering how to be the church,” he said.
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