Thursday, April 29, 2010

"...if it is leadership, let him govern diligently..." (Romans 12:8b, NIV)

This is the one I've been waiting for...the one I've wanted to write about.  The Leader.  (Some of you out there will know it better as Administrator and that's how I will refer to this gift throughout this post.)  Why have I been waiting for it?  Because it's me.  I understand it.  I can live this one out.  As far as I'm concerned, the world would be a better place if we were all administrators.  But, alas...not so.  And, truly, there is good reason why God allows only so many administrators on the planet at one time.  To many, administrators are annoying.  If everyone operated in this gifting we'd all look like robots carrying lists around and checking off details, taking charge of every little thing -- then it would be chaos instead of the beautiful order that Administrators bring to the world.  I've been reminded and even reprimanded on more than one occasion by two of my very favorite people on the planet regarding my take charge, plan everything out personality.

The Greek word for Administrator or Leader is "kubernesis" which literally means to steer a ship and "diligently" simply means to do or pursue with persevering attention; painstaking.  C. Peter Wagner calls this person a "helmsman."  A helmsman must steer the ship safely to harbor; to steer it through rocks and storms and other dangers that others might miss or misjudge due to poor course setting or poor planning.  In other words, the Administrator has the ability to pursue and oversee a project, event or ministry with painstaking attention to its desired end.  The NIV refers to this Motivational Gift as the Gift of Leadership.  To administrate something means to control, manage, direct and govern; to lead means to guide, show the way, escort, pilot, be in front.  Leadership probably better describes what this gift SHOULD be, but  I prefer Administrator because I feel that term better describes the operation of this gift as others see it.

If you scored high in the Motivational Gift of Administration here are some things you might want to know about yourself.  You are a big picture person and a planner.  You plan everything out.  You have the ability to organize and prioritize so that you can and do reach your goal.  Sometimes you organize the details of an event or project and other times you organize people to carry out the necessary tasks of the event or project.  You know how to delegate.  You have a natural ability to problem solve.  You easily take charge and start giving orders.  You are detail-oriented, goal-oriented, disciplined and work really well under pressure.  You are a good motivator and usually won't procrastinate.  You tend to be a perfectionist with an adequate self-image.  You feel really good and extremely useful when in charge of a project because you believe you are working for the good of a group.

Now before you get a big head, here's the downside of your strength.  You can be a little too intense for some.  You appear bossy.  Planning is good, and, in my opinion, you cannot succeed (or even exist well) with a solid plan; but, you plan ad nauseam.  From the moment I get up in the morning my brain is saying, "What's the plan today?"  (My sons-in-law will be rolling their eyes at me right about now.)  You don't like to admit your mistakes along the way because it comes across as not being in control; and, be it a list of tasks to accomplish or a group of people to accomplish said tasks, you like to be in control.  You follow A, B, and C or 1, 2, and 3 and don't leave a lot of room for inserting anything in between.  It 's not that you can't, it's just not easy to allow.

Both of my sons-in-law (2 of my favorite people on the planet) have commented on my administrative personality.  They are both very spontaneous people with wonderful gifts of their own.  I am well aware of how I come off sometimes to them and I know they've swallowed hard on more than one occasion instead of telling me to chill out and stop planning the entire day.  Whenever we're all together, the first thing out of my mouth in the morning is literally, "So, what's the plan today, people?" and then I proceed to make a plan.  They roll their eyes at me or sigh and shake their heads.  Sometimes they beat me to the question; and, although I like to think they're trying to take lessons on making a plan, I know they're just humoring me.  But, it just makes good sense to me.  Honestly, how do you not think about some sort of plan for the day?  My daughters jump right on board with me.  I have a good friend who operates even more strongly in this gift than I do.  She works for a church as a type of Office Administrator and does her job extremely well.  She doesn't miss a beat when it comes to the details.  She has lists both at work and at home and knows exactly why she has the list, where said list is located and, I'm certain, everything on the list gets finished and crossed off.  The spontaneous people in life find this annoying, but I can guarantee that without the detail-oriented organization of Administrators like this the spontaneous people in this world would not be free to be spontaneous!

Let's look at an example from scripture: Joseph, the quintessential Administrator.  The stories of Joseph are found in Genesis beginning with chapter 36.  Through a series of bad decisions by his brothers, Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave and then as a prisoner.  Through both situations his gift of Administration came shining through but never more glowingly than when he had to oversee a plan that would save Egypt from a coming famine.  "And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.  Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.  They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.  This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine," said Joseph to Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:33-36, NIV)  Pharaoh saw this to be a good and sound plan and put Joseph in charge. charge of a plan!  I love it!  Try to imagine the logistics of collecting and storing food for seven years from all the cities of Egypt -- enough to be portioned out to all the families of all those cities for seven years of famine.  How much food would be needed for all the people?  Do we store enough for everyone to have plenty or do we store enough for everyone to just have enough.  Where do we store it all?  Obviously, we must build storage facilities.  Where?  Who does the building?  Who does the collecting?  Who moves the food around?  The questions DO NOT end there! The details involved in keeping an entire nation from starvation is mind-boggling.  Could YOU do it?  God gave Joseph the plan and God gave Joseph the ability to carry it out.  Those of you who get annoyed with the likes of Administrators should stop and think about this story.

If you scored high in the Motivational Gift of Administration, here's what you need to do.  First, because planning and organizing come so easily for you work on your ability to be spontaneous.  There's something freeing about throwing away the list and flying by the seat of your pants.  Those around you might just appreciate a little vacation from the plan.  Second, though some take to being ordered around more willingly, others do not appreciate your take charge approach.  In fact, they may come to blows with you or walk away from the task altogether.  At the end of the day it's better to know that you walked and worked in love and humility with those who have signed on to help you.  Remember, "A gentle answer turns away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)  Third, always remember that the responsibility and privilege of being in charge is best approached from a position of humility.  Don't play the blame game.  Own the mistakes and share the glory.  Fourth, and this may sound a bit redundant, but not everything in life can be planned out.  Life is unpredictable in both good ways and bad.  Sometimes you just have to let things develop around you, watch them fail or succeed, and know that God, who has given you this beautiful gift, is in TOTAL control of your world -- so you don't have to be!


NOTE:  The description of each gift is based on the highest score possible for an individual.  You may find that only certain things are true for you and the rest is only true to a certain measure.  We are individuals created by an infinitely creative God.  We do not fit any certain mold.  These descriptions help you to understand why you see things a certain way, why you act a certain way and why some things are more important to you than other things.  Most of us will score fairly high in 2 or 3 gifts and how these gifts rank and what God has you involved in at the time will determine how well these gift descriptions speak to your individual personality.


sarahbri said...

Awesome. First because I thought we might never hear from you again. And second because you did a good job. And I love your description of how this [lays out with your sons in law! :)

Anonymous said...

I love this! And I love this gift in you! One of my favorite parts about all of us getting together is "the plan." All the way down to the menu made weeks ahead of time. It's one of my most favorite things about you and I'm pleased to say I know where I get it from. And I'm going to agree with you...they're not humoring you, they are actually taking notes on how to be administrative. :)