Personality Pattern Assessment

Picture 1I have taken a lot of personality profile assessments. I find they give me new insight into myself and how I relate to others. Sometimes I have blind spots in my personality that these type assessments help me discover.  From that information I can build upon my strengths and recognize my weaknesses.  This is a new assessment to me.  Here’s what happened when I took the personality pattern assessment.

Competent

You strive to master everything you undertake. You tend to learn quickly and do not shy away from challenges.  You are not a “que sera sera” type of person, nor do you go easy on yourself when attempting to master a new skill or get a job done.

Creative

You are good at solving problems, coming up with original ideas, and seeing connections between things, connections that most other people miss. People with a high score on the “creative” trait often are employed in such fields as finance and scientific research, and enjoy avant garde and classical music as well as literary fiction and scholarly non-fiction.  You do not shun abstractions and concepts in favor of the concrete and tangible.

Astute

You are a quick study. You generally don’t need to have things explained to you more than once. When presented with a problem, you will often have an instant understanding of where to look for the solution.  You do not take your sweet time when presented with a new task to complete or problem to solve. You don’t avoid assignments that require you to learn new skills.

Assertive

You behave in a confident and forceful manner, take charge of the situation, raise your hand in class, stand up for what you think is right, and lead others. Among those who have a high score on the “assertive” trait, many have jobs in which they are valued for their organizational skills as well as their talent for supervising others.   You are not interested in fading into the woodwork, leaving everything to fate, taking more time than necessary to accomplish a task, or avoiding confrontation.

Competitive

You’d rather win than simply get along in most situations. When you know you’re right, you would rather argue your point than compromise. Generally, those with a high score on the “competitive” trait hold leadership positions in industry and are exhilarated by risk-taking both in their professional and personal lives.   You are not always interested in getting along with others in a group, especially if it can mean losing your identity.

Unflappable

You are not a slave to your emotions. It takes a lot to upset or unnerve you. That’s why you’re a good person to have around in a crisis.  You don’t let it all hang out, which means that those around you often don’t know the pressures you’re under or what you’re going through. You’re not the kind of person people run from in a crisis.

Innovative

You come up with a lot of ideas; if one doesn’t work out, there’s always another waiting in the wings. You often have interesting solutions to difficult problems. You’re practically a one-person brainstorming session.  You are less interested changing the world than in dealing with things as they are. Unlike those who spend all their time trying to solve problems, you prefer to zero in on things that work and stick with them.

Introspective

You like your own company; you’re a very interesting person. Tracking your own mental processes, knowing what you’re thinking and why you do what you do, is important to you. Often, what’s going on in your mind is more compelling than what’s going on outside. For the most part, those with a high score on the “introspective” trait enjoy reading, taking long walks, learning new things, and other solitary activities.  You are not someone who is constantly looking to be among a group of friends; you never feel bored when you are by yourself.

Intellectual

You are thoughtful, rational, and comfortable in the world of ideas. People find you interesting to talk to. You’re the living embodiment of the saying “You learn something new every day.” In general, those with a high score on the “intellectual” trait are employed in such fields as teaching and research, and are enthusiastic about reading, foreign films, and classical music.  You do not avoid abstract conversation, experimenting with new ideas, or studying new things. It bores you to stick to the straight and narrow of what you already know.

Resilient

You bounce back quickly from adversity. For you, all setbacks are temporary. You don’t dwell on bad news, bad luck, or criticism; you regroup and focus on solving the problem, whatever it may be.  You almost never feel that there’s too much on your plate, that you don’t have the strength to deal with the bad hand you’ve been dealt, or that you’re going to lose it if you have to deal with one more problem.

Try it out.  It takes less than 10 minutes. Then tell me what your top traits are.

7 Ways To Recover After A Major Failure Or Mistake

Never recovering after a major personal mistake or failure is what keeps some people from ever accomplishing much in life.  All of us make mistakes, but I am referring to the ones that cause major pain to yourself and those you love.  Even this type of failure does not have to stop you from achieving your dreams and goals. A lot of bouncing back in life depends on your response and attitude after the fall.

Here are a few steps to help you get back on track after you have a major failure in life:

Apologize – If the error was your fault, then be humble enough to admit your mistake and ask forgiveness.  Taking responsibility for your actions is never a bad thing to do.  Spend some time with God and the people you injured seeking their forgiveness.  God will grant it easily, others may not, but your job is not to control their response, but to offer a sincere apology.

Change directions – You can’t expect to recover if you keep repeating the same mistakes.

Build protection/accountability – Don’t be foolish enough to think it won’t happen again. It will unless you protect yourself.  You have damaged your proprioceptors  (Read this post) and depending on the size of the failure you may have to retrain yourself not to let the same mistake happen again.

Forgive yourself – Often the hardest thing to do is to let go of the guilt and move forward, but if God can forgiven you, why can’t you?

Stand strong – You will receive the same temptation again.  You will have further opportunity to repeat the same mistakes. Do not allow circumstances to control your life.  Find the power in Christ, yourself and others who believe in you to stay strong.

Set new goals – Dream again.  Find new areas in which you can succeed.  This may be one of the most important steps.  Don’t skip it,

Don’t look back – Once you have sought and received forgiveness and built safeguards into your life, do not allow the past to control your destiny.  Move forward with victory!

Are you allowing your past to control your future?   Get moving towards a new day today!

10 Things I Would Do Differently If I Could Do Life Over Again

By all practical standards if I live a normal life, I’m at or past middle age.   Maybe it doesn’t happen to everyone like this, but my middle age crisis has caused me to reflect on life thus far…  (Certainly better than some crises I have heard)

Recently I was reflecting on what I would do in life if I had a “do over”. Have you ever wished you had a fresh start? If I did, here are 10 things I would do differently:

  • Took bigger risks earlier
  • Exercised more
  • Followed my dreams more fervently
  • Avoided the temptations to compromise
  • Stayed in touch with friends from high school and college
  • Saved more money
  • Worried less
  • Wrote down my experiences as I was experiencing them (I would have a best selling book)
  • Forgave others quicker and easier
  • Swallowed my pride a few more times (without life doing it for me)

Thankfully I have half a life (or so it may appear) to accomplish the list!

What would be on your list of things you would do differently?

10 Random Thoughts and Questions About Life

I keep a notepad handy to write down thoughts and questions I have about life.   Sometimes they become Twitters…sometimes they get expanded and made into blog posts…and sometimes they sit in my notepad waiting for attention.  Here’s a collection of the latter:

  1. Mentoring and life coaching appears to becoming more popular.  Does this indicate some growing need in our culture?
  2. In spite of the economy’s struggles, people seem to look for ways to give to others.  Could that be a part of the human spirit God designed?
  3. It seems like the role of government continues to grow, but the trust in government doesn’t.
  4. People are looking for answers more than ever, but answers (apart from Christ) are harder to find.
  5. The average marriage in “trouble” could be greatly improved with two people willing to humble themselves.
  6. We keep finding ways to live longer. Are we really finding ways to live better?
  7. We continue to seek simplicity in life, but the world continues to get more complex.
  8. Americans are becoming more conservative with their finances.  If we had displayed this attitude earlier could we have avoided some of the economic mess of today?
  9. If couples put as much energy into their marriage as they do into things of less importance, most marriages would thrive.
  10. God seems to take pleasure in stretching my mind and imagination.

What are some random thoughts and questions going through your mind these days?

Discipline Yourself To Dream

We have had a busy season at Grace Community Church.  Fall is the time of year when most churches ramp up their ministries, which tracks with back-to-school schedules and the change to cooler weather.  Our church has been in a fast growth mode since day one, but we seem to be in a unique place of extraordinary growth right now.  In addition to this growth we are launching new small groups, a college ministry, gearing up for our annual community outreach ministry, and adding a third service, along with numerous other changes occurring this fall, some that we are not ready to talk about yet.  Some days it seems we have just enough energy to get through another week and all our time is focused on the next Sunday.

At our most recent staff meeting, in the midst of making plans for our new third service, I reminded the staff of an important principle. (I hope they were listening.)  During times of significant growth, planning or workload, it is always important to…

…DISIPLINE YOURSELF TO DREAM….

During the busiest times in an organization, when all the team’s energies are focused on getting through a specific project or season, if the team is not disciplined otherwise, because habits form quickly, there is a tendency to continue operating in the day-to-day mode even after the busy season passes. I expanded on that idea in a previous post.  Read that post HERE.

Teams that want to experience long-term growth have to discipline themselves to build dreaming into the system.  Leaders should model innovative thinking during stressful periods within the organization.  Individual team members need to consciously pick their head up from the routines and strategically think further down the road for the organization.

Dreaming keeps momentum flowing forward.  The next great decisions made by the Grace Community Church staff will likely come from our time set aside to dream.

Do you need to set aside time this week just to dream?

Finishing Well/Leaving a Legacy (A Tribute to my Dad)

My dad has a lot in common with someone famous.

I watched the last couple minutes of a 60 Minutes interview with Ted Kennedy’s son, Ted Kennedy Jr.  I was impressed with one statement he made.  He said, ”My dad was not a perfect man. He made lots of mistakes, but he spent the last days of his life trying to right the wrongs he had made.”  (Paraphrased)

When I saw the interview, I couldn’t help but think about my dad’s story. Without giving all the details, my dad would readily admit that he has made a lot of mistakes in his life. We could pretend those days never happened, but the fact is that his alcoholism and the times of separation from my mom and his children caused scars in the life of his family.

Today my dad is a new man.  He has been sober for many years and he and my mother are now very happily married.  He loves his children and wants nothing more than to be with them and his grandchildren just think of him as Pa Pa, with no personal knowledge of years gone by.  He is active in church, loves to share Scripture with others, and would help anyone who needed a hand.

Perhaps that is what the writer of Ecclesiastes meant in Chapter 7, verse 1, which says, “A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.” I learn from watching my dad’s life that finishing is better than starting and that finishing well by loving God and others is the end goal of life.

When I meet with people who have made mistakes in life in my role as a pastor, I am always less concerned with where they have been or what they have done wrong.  I am always more concerned with where they want to go in life and how dedicated they are to get there.  My dad is an example of someone that wants to end well.  I believe his legacy will prove he achieved his goal.

Love you dad!  Thanks for paving a good path for others to follow.

Why Another Church Plant? (Happy Birthday Grace Community Church!)

theGbwGrace Community Church was four years old yesterday (September 11).   Happy Birthday!  We will celebrate it tomorrow by asking our people to sacrifice more and serve the city of Clarksville by adding to our morning schedule with a third service.  If you do not have a church home join us at 8:30, 10:00 or 11:30 AM at Rossview High School.  You can find directions HERE.

There is often a huge misunderstanding about church planting that needs to be understood.  For four years I have heard phrases and questions from churched people, offered in a well-meaning desire to know or put a meaning behind why a new church was needed in Clarksville, even after hundreds have come to know Christ as their personal Savior who had never given church a chance.  The real truth is that I was not upset with any church.  In fact, I actually love tradition and I ran from pursuing this vision for years because I didn’t want to leave my church or start another one.  My family and many friends still attend the church I grew up in. I love that church even today and I am most thankful for the impact the church had on my life and still has in our city today.  This was the story of most every churched person who chose to attend our church plant.

The misunderstanding people often have about church planting is this:

Most of the time church planting is NOT about what people are running from, but about what people are running to.

That is certainly my story.  Our heart was then and is today to reach people no one else is reaching by creating environments no one else is creating.  Our church is unique.  We tell the same story of God’s love and  Christ’s redemption in a different way.  Is it for everyone?  Absolutely not!   Is it for some…absolutely!  God has amazed us with how many!

Happy Birthday Grace and may your best days be still to come!

Help For Ministry Wives (Interview with Rachel Lovingood)

005183353_lOne of the toughest jobs in the church must be the role of pastor or minister’s spouse. Recently Cheryl (my spouse) completed a Bible study on her own that she felt was very helpful to her. She believes it will be helpful for other ministry spouses. If her schedule will ever allow it she would love to lead a group of area wives through this study. I decided since it was valuable enough for my wife that I would like to interview one of the authors.

Rachel Lovingood and Jennifer Landrith wrote the study called “In Our Shoes…Real Life Issues for Ministers’ Wives by Ministers’ Wives”. Recently I was able to interview Rachel to find out a little more about this study and the ministry behind it.

Here is that interview:

Ron: Rachel, tell me a little about your background. Did you grow up in church? When did you become a believer?

Rachel: Yes I was a typical good church girl who knew so much about God and even how to live like a Christian…I went on mission trips and youth camps etc., but when I was a sophomore in college one night in my dorm room I suddenly realized that although I had plenty of head knowledge about God I really didn’t have the heart knowledge I needed and so I surrendered my life to Christ and asked HIm to save me.

Ron: That’s a great story and one I am sure many share with you. Was there a time when you sensed a call to ministry, or did you just happen to marry someone in the ministry?

Rachel: I started dating my husband, Jeff, and he was called to ministry so my calling went from following God with my life to being called to marry Jeff who “happened” to be going into the ministry

Ron: What prompted you to write “In Your Shoes”?

Rachel: My pastor’s wife, Jennifer, and I have been friends a long time. She and David, her husband, grew up in the same town and church as Jeff and I did. As a matter of fact our hubby’s have been best friends since like 8th grade. As we have been serving on the same staff for the past several years, Jen and I noticed a common thread among our own staff wives as well as ones we had other opportunities to spend time with–that they are hurting, lonely, feel frustrated, feel inadequate and so on…we both looked and really didn’t find any resources that got to the heart of the matter for ministers’ wives. Although there have been a few resources out there that are good, we didn’t see any that we could use to help equip and enable the wives serving with us–so we decided to write something it and ourselves became “In Our Shoes”.

Ron: Well, it’s a great resource and helped my wife. It is obvious you have a special heart for ministry spouses. If you had one word of encouragement to say to them what would it be?

Rachel: Relax, trust that God knows you and where you are and He has you there for a reason…you are not alone!

Ron: Have you heard from any of the ministry wives who have completed or are working through the Bible study? What has the reaction been to your work?

Rachel: We have been overwhelmed and extremely humbled by the responses we have gotten…some have said “I felt like quitting and my husband walked in from a trip where he bought me your book, I sat down and the first thing I read was like God speaking to me Himself”. Hearing stories like that is the most awesome thing–to know that God really is using this work for His glory is what it’s all about–it also reinforces that there are so many hurting and struggling spouses out there in the world of ministry…

Ron: Are there any other resources for minister wives?

Rachel: We set up a blog for the book so that wives can comment and ask questions or just network about issues that relate to our lives in ministry. (You can find that blog HERE.)

Ron: Thanks so much for your time Rachel. Any closing thoughts?

Rachel: It breaks my heart when I hear of ministry couples divorcing or leaving the ministry because of marriage issues and I always wonder, “What could have been done to save this marriage or protect this ministry?” I am convinced that we will have healthier churches when we have healthier ministries and our ministries will be healthier when our marriages are healthier and our marriages will be healthier when we are healthier…so In Our Shoes is our offering to the church.

Consider buying one of these study books for your minister’s wife. I agree with Rachel. Many times the health of the minister’s family determines the health of the church and ministry.