Jenny Haddad Mosher, Director, The Telos Project
Since the inception of the Office of Vocation & Ministry in 2004, it has used the Strengthsfinder assessment tool to guide its teamwork. This simple, inexpensive assessment asks people to rate a set of statements according to how strongly they agree or disagree with them. Using the results, the assessment captures and generates a profile of participants’ unique configuration of themes and strengths—under what circumstances they work best, how they understand challenges and set priorities, at what sorts of tasks they excel.
Having a strengths profile for each staff person helps the OVM team when planning and assigning tasks. It can also help dispel confusion and misunderstandings that may arise over different approaches to a single problem.
Because we’ve found StrengthsFinder so helpful in the context of both OVM and CrossRoad ministry, the first exercise new Telos teams were assigned was taking the Strengthsfinder assessment and discussing results together. Some team members were surprised to see such a tool introduced into a ministry context. Yet all have found it enlightening and helpful. Some team members observed that they better understand those they’ve stood next to in church for years. Other team members reported an increased appreciation for their priests, now that they have new perspective on their particular leadership styles: “It really is an amazing picture of Father. He is so effective at being able to be flexible to serve what is best for the parish, is an awesome problem-solver, and can also think out of the box quickly. He makes sure that others feel heard and valued. It just helps to see how his strengths align so much.”
This parishioner’s comments illustrate how an assessment and discussion of strengths builds a foundation of gratitude for one another and for the gifts God has given us. It helps us see one another as unique individuals created by God with diverse skills for use on behalf of the Church. In 1 Corinthians 12: 18–21, we hear:
God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
With all our differences, God has given us to each other and asked us to collaborate for the upbuilding of his Kingdom. So often, however, we just rush into our tasks, forgetting to stand back and marvel and give thanks for the gift of our fellow laborers. It’s inevitable that, in church life, we will sometimes disagree on the best way to meet our challenges. But if we begin from the perspective that God has given us who and what we need to fulfill His will, if we are attentive to how our different strengths can better contribute to the whole, “What is impossible with man is possible with God!” (Luke 18:27)
For more on how the OVM utilizes StrengthsFinder, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.