Other Updates:

Reflections on Leading a GRIP Team Process

Introducing Discerning Direction Together

5 Reasons to Attend Set in Motion

Dissecting the Dotted Diamond

Resilience in Ministry

The Allure of Structure

A Mirror Isn’t Enough

My 2.5 year old son loves getting into things.  He finds his favorite toys–which are not actually his toys– and will regularly run off with them.  This morning he grabbed one such item… a handheld mirror, and he went running out of the room.  When we called him back into the room, he started walking back down the hallway.

And he bumped into the door.  And then the dresser. And then the corner of the wall.  Why?  He was so fixated on his own -adorable and handsome- face, that he failed to observe the obstacles around him.  He had to have the mirror pried from his little fingers, and there may have been a tear or two shed… less from the pain of the mis-steps, and more about the removal of what was so beautiful and wonderful to him– his own countenance.  

And there you have the reality of most assessments, most teams, and most leaders we encounter today.  

The Grip gives us the opportunity to come at Spiritual Gifting in a way that is empowering to understanding the whole picture.  It is not a 1- or 2-dimensional picture of an individual or even an individual in a relationship, it is a robust 3-dimensional sculpture allowing us to grasp the contours of the complete team.  Most assessments focus on the “I.”  Their mirror – or reporting- focuses on the “I”, and they simply increase the size of the mirror held, rather than forcing us to put the mirror down to see how the others around us are wired.  The Team Styles and the Body-Building Roles bring strengths and weaknesses to the conversation.  This provides us the freedom of transparency in the context of relationships.  The self-perceived void created by God-given weakness is an “I” problem.  Truthfully, however, it is a “We” opportunity when we understand we are made whole in the empowerment of another’s strength to fill our own lack.  Most assessments don’t lead us to team.  And if they do, they fail to lead us to a weakness to empowerment conversation of team.

Team development has become an acceptance of who I am.  At best, it is a leveraging of one’s strengths.  Other assessments and processes fail in a primary necessity of team development:  confession and forgiveness.  The I to We process gives us language to own and process my own selfishness as it pertains to team.  

When I can progress 

from a state of understanding my own weakness and sin behaviors, 

to confessing how I have tried to operate on my own impacting the team, 

to asking for forgiveness, 

I have laid the foundation for trust.  


The weakness is given language in Grip.  Sin behaviors are given language in our cultural values that block body life and the liabilities of the Gifts.  In this, the mirror becomes a two-way opportunity to learn about myself, lower it in full transparency, reflect what I have learned, and confess in humility.  When this is modelled, we invite others to embrace themselves as they do the same… including every scar and imperfection the mirror may highlight.

The mirror of leaders can be more subtle.  See, leaders love influence.  They long for leverage to move others along with them.  The gap, however, comes from only building up individuals without the boldness of brokenness which leads to a Christ-revealing unity.  Brokenness as a leader involves not just calling people to vision, but it involves calling them to lower their mirrors and look around them in full vulnerability.   

Often the leaders get caught in either focusing on the relationships or only highlighting the tasks. Team effectiveness combines the pieces together to strategically understand where God might be leading.  This happens when collectively we look at our mirrors, lower our mirrors, look at the room, the individuals we are working with, and then collectively avoid any pesky dressers around us. The leader’s role must be to facilitate the process, empowering the team to thrive in their strengths, hold open-handed their weakness, and graciously hold one another to the depth of unity found in the early church of Acts 2.   

Grip is not a Spiritual Gifts assessment.  It is a team assessment looking at how the Holy Spirit supernaturally empowers us together.  Leaders and assessments are not the answer to team development.  The process of moving from I to We is an intentional journey of confession, forgiveness, and accountability to create Christ-revealing unity.  Grip is simply a tool to use along the path to help us reflect something more than our own stumbling selves.  


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