My favorite part of any superhero story is the protagonist discovering that they are different. That they possess some special skills that sets them apart from everyone else. Once we have identified the right people for our teams, whether they are staff members, interns, or volunteers, our responsibility is to help them discover who they were created to be. Recently I was in a conversation with a friend who was researching graduating college students. His interview would end with a simple question, "what are you going to do next?" Out of 500 students, 100% said something like, "I don't know, but I want to do something meaningful."
We owe it to our students, volunteers, interns, and staff members to help them discover what matters most to them. Here are a couple questions I have acquired over the years to isolate the true dreams of the people around me:
- When you wake up in the morning what makes you excited to get out of bed?
- When you can't sleep at night what is running thru your mind?
- What do you value most in a vocation, if money was not necessary?
What these questions do is narrow in on what things people are truly passionate about (what they wake up for in the morning), what they are undeniably unsatisfied with (what keeps them up at night), and how they would like to spend their daily work life (what do you value most).
Once this conversation has begun, I do three things: have them create personal mission statements, go thru Stand Out (leadership assessment tool) and then list out their responsibilities. Here is what mine looks like:
Jared Kirkwood: Why?: to create environments of life change where meaning is found in the story of God. How?: Stimulator/Connector (visionary) [Stand Out] What?: Strategic leadership for HSM | Teaching Pastor | Leadership Development for the Pipeline
I look at this profile almost daily.
The discovery stage is a gift for a leader to witness. Remember when you first discovered who God created you to be? Wasn't it thrilling to know that God had uniquely gifted you to do something that would ultimately bring him glory? Your next gift is to walk alongside the younger version of you and help them discover the masterpiece that God has created them to be.
The work that truly matters to me is helping others discover meaning in the story of God. What is it for you?
Next up: young leaders in your ministry are desperate to use their new-found gifts. We must equip them with the tools necessary to practice their budding skills.