I learn so much from other leaders. One of the purposes of my blog is to help with leadership development in the church and among other believers. I decided a great way to do that was by interviewing some leaders I admire. In the coming weeks, I will do a series of interviews with leaders.
I begin with Ben Arment. Ben is a fellow church planter. He is most recently known for his development of the Story Conference and before that, the Whiteboard Conference. I attended both and can testify that Ben is a visionary influencer of church culture today. You can follow Ben on his blog HERE or on Twitter HERE. He is currently working on a new project called Dream Year to help young ministry leaders live out their passion and calling.
Here are 10 Questions with Ben Arment:
1. When you were growing up, is this what you thought you would be doing vocationally? If not, what did you want to do?
Yes… I mean, at first I thought I was going to own a chain of ice cream parlors called The Cocoa Nut Hut. =) But I always wanted to produce experiences for people. It took me a long time to understand that God needed to shape my character and give me the necessary experience. And it also took me a while to realize that dreams are supposed to be hard. But I’m just beginning to do what God created me for.
2. What’s the most different job you’ve had from what you are doing now and how did that job help you with what you are doing now?
In college, the only job I could get in rural Tipp City, Ohio was at a small bookstore. It was boring and miserable, and I couldn’t understand why other doors wouldn’t open. But it was the greatest preparation for what I do now. Conferences are essentially portable bookstores.
3. Who is one person, besides Christ, who most helped to shape your leadership and how did they help you?
I grew up in the church; my father was a pastor; so I was surrounded by Christian leaders my whole life. It’s hard to point to one person who most shaped me. It mostly came from reading books and then working at churches. Truth is, there’s a tremendous lack of mentoring happening in the church. I’m launching a year-long process called Dream Year because I have a passion to help leaders achieve their God given dreams.
4. Besides the Bible, what is one book that has most helped to shape your thought process in life and ministry?
Without a doubt, Jim Cymbala’s book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. I actually read it about once a year.
5. What are three words other people would use to describe your work style/ethic?
They might use focused, disciplined and resourceful.
6. What is your greatest strength in leadership?
It’s the ability to unite the efforts of many different people and organizations toward one, common purpose.
7. What is your greatest weakness in leadership?
I’m an introspective thinker, so I don’t brainstorm well with others. By the time I’m telling you my idea, I’ve already decided to do it.
8. What is the hardest thing you have to do in leadership?
I have to be selective in who can work with me. Bill Hybels’ filter is a brilliant model: character, competency and chemistry. Two out of three can make a miserable partnership.
9. What is one misconception about your work you think people may have?
Maybe that it comes easily for me. Conference-making is extremely difficult work, but I have enough passion for it to propel me through the challenges.
10. If you could give one piece of advice to young leaders from what you’ve learned by experience, what would it be?
To achieve a God-given dream, you have to satisfy four criteria. You must be passionate about it; you need a platform; you have to be gifted at it; and there must be a demand for it. Where these four criteria meet is your sweet spot. Most people never get to their sweet spot because they can only satisfy two at best.
Thanks Ben for sharing some great leadership insight. Stay tuned for more interviews.
Do you have a suggestion of whom I should attempt to interview next?