Pushing Your Limits

1We all get stuck in our brokenness and, when we don’t address it, broken becomes our new normal. We stop seeing our own limits, our flaws, our areas of unhealthiness; and instead of seeking healing, we just continue in our brokenness. The same is true of churches and church staffs.

Recently, Tim Knighton of Shively Christian Church sat down with me to share how this is true in his own ministry. HGC recently conducted a consultation at Shively and the church entered a covenant. Tim is their Worship Minister and received assessments in the course of their HGC Consultation. In his debrief, the HGC team identified several blind spots and lags within his leadership style and wiring and then asked the question, “How would you like to deal with this?”

This question set Tim on a journey to be a better leader with his team, within the staff, with his congregation and at home.

Tim on the DISC is a “C”. He said that gave him a hard edge and he often came across very rough. As a worship pastor who needed to introduce change in the worship style to his team and to his church, he was often frustrated with the people around him. Add to this a fear of conflict and a family of origin that avoided healthy resolution and Tim often found himself asking, “Why can’t these people just get on board?” He was frustrated and unable to onboard others on his team and staff to his vision for Shively’s worship.

Tim took the insights from his Assessments and the suggestions from his debrief and started a journey toward a being a healthier and more effective leader. One of the first areas he decided to address was the area of conflict.

“I thought I was good at showing concern and valuing others but I began to realize that this isn’t a strength of mine.” Tim says. He read several books on crucial conversations and understanding others’ viewpoints that were recommended in his debrief. He began to put into practice his learnings and saw his relationships changing for the better.

Shively Church has two separate services, one contemporary and one traditional, and effectively, it has become one church with two congregations. And, in fact, neither service reflects the rapidly transitioning community in which the church is located. Tim had the vision of combining the worship styles of the traditional service, the contemporary service and their predominately black community into one new worship culture that, while new to everyone, would have something for everyone.

As you can image, he faced opposition. Previous leaders had promised no change. People were happy with their current experience and resisted change. In the past, Tim would have announced the changes and expected everyone to come on board. This time, Tim decided to use a healthier approach by changing his tactics—showing value for individuals rather than pushing through the changes.

Tim decided to recruit Mrs. Jean. He laughs and shares “I wasn’t Mrs. Jean’s style at all. My shirt was always untucked, I have funny hair, I play the guitar. I knew she was a key to getting buy-in from others. So I decided to approach her and use some of the skills I picked up as a result of my debrief and research.”

Tim explained to Mrs. Jean that he didn’t know many hymns. He hadn’t grown up in a Christian home and many of these songs were new to him. He asked her to help him figure out which were the best hymns. He worked hard to show her how much he valued her and appreciated her music. Mrs. Jean was touched and came onboard to help Tim not just learn hymns but also an advocate for Tim’s vision for the new worship style. She is learning to appreciate the music of a younger generation and the music of other cultures.

“I realized most people aren’t out to get you, they are just hurt and don’t want to be left behind.” says Tim. His new leadership mantra says to everyone, “You are such an important part of what we do here. Without you we couldn’t do what we do.”

Tim is learning to bring this approach to all areas of his ministry and into his personal life. By learning to value others and how to show it, Tim has experienced greater health in his worship team, the staff with whom he works, and within his family. He confesses that he was near burnout and frustrated with his inability to gain buy-in and his personal leadership lids. He has addressed additional lids as well as some personal health issues. Tim is more confident in both his vision and his ability to lead.

“Prior to this experience, I didn’t realize how to invest in myself and how to address my weaknesses. HGC helped me understand my leadership blind spots and gave me the resources to address them.”

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