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

What does resiliency in ministry mean? 

Our community is committed to building unity in the Body of Christ.  GRIP-Birkman is a foundational tool to provide a language to support our commitment.  But what does that have to do with resilience?  Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands (APA, 2022).   

As coaches and team facilitators of the GRIP-Birkman, our call is to guide those we serve to greater levels of understanding of themselves and each other.  Without that awareness, individuals and teams will lack the opportunity to share transparently with others, communicating what and who they need in each given situation.  Without the ability to communicate effectively, their adapting will suffer, and we will be left often in isolation to navigate the challenges we are experiencing.   

Barna presented research earlier this year about the increase of pastors considering leaving the pulpit (42% up from 29% 14 months earlier).  The Great Resignation now followed by the Quiet Quitting is plastered across the business news of our world.  What is the cause of this?  And, better yet, how do we as GRIP-Birkman coaches address this?   

By looking at the above definition phrase by phrase, we can begin to see the GRIP-Birkman’s relevance  in the discussion on resilience.   

Resilience is the process and outcome … Moving from I to We is a process. We are not looking for a destination, rather we are acknowledging that we are on journey, and in our journey we recognize that we are designed for each other.  God designed us to need one another.  It’s a journey together, with the outcome being that our unity, particularly in challenging seasons, reveals Jesus. 

… of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences… Successful adaptation in the Body of Christ implies we experience JOY, POWER, and FRUIT through using our spiritual gifts. Navigating through challenging life experiences means we don’t lose site of the goal:  To steward our gifts and relationships well so that Jesus gets the glory (1 Peter 4:10-11).  When we succumb to the world’s view of self-care being the end goal, we miss out on the opportunity to thrive together in community.    

…especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility… The Birkman’s scientific depth here is very helpful as it unpacks 9 distinct elements of our behavior and personality.  This information is then summarized in the Birkman map to show us how we usually operate, what we need from the relationships and environment around us, and what our less productive behaviors will be if our needs or expectations are not met.  Flexibility implies a ‘bendiness’ — but we might shift that thinking to a ‘boundariness’- where we understand what our personal limitations might be in given situations.  In recent work with a church leadership team, I observed that all seem to be doing ‘well’, but the margin between their current state and burnout is rather thin.  My conversations are now surrounding how we build resilience through understanding, establishing, and honoring the necessary boundaries in their lives and ministry.  Flexibility – when we think of a tree in spring – is amazing.  You can bend, pull, twist, and the twig won’t break off.  Why?  Because it’s full of life on the inside, connected to the source of nutrients, water, and health.

When a branch becomes brittle, it snaps with very little effort because the source of its flexibility is gone.  

…and adjustment to external and internal demands.  This phrase might do the best job of capturing our desire as coaches:  helping our coachees adjust to the demands they face.  Our goal as coaches is to facilitate discovery as our clients observe, understand, and navigate the complexities of their lives in meaningful relationships that fully honor Christ.  Our questions peel the onion, probing deeper to understand how each change we make has additional implications and impacts on the internal and external demands.  As we guide the conversation, our goal remains to create the actions needed for the adjustments desired to thrive in their relationships. 

So, beyond understanding resilience, what are practical questions and steps we can use to guide the conversation and help individuals and teams build this resilience? Here are a few suggestions. 

Reflection & Check-In 

  1. If your Underlying needs are a gas tank, how full is your tank today?  In the past week, what has filled your tank, and what has taken away from your tank? 
  2. When was the last time you were able to experience a ‘God-moment’ using your spiritual gifts?  What was the result for you?  For those you were equipping/supporting? 
  3. How have you been feeling physically and emotionally?   
  4. What is the risk if we don’t prioritize resilience?  What is at stake? 

Addressing activities that can build resilience – naturally 

  1. What would potentially help you feel better?   
    • Green – more input or feedback from others 
    • Red – more activity, hands on projects 
    • Yellow – reorganizing and structuring things 
    • Blue – time alone, or time with a significant other 
  2. How are you ‘grounding’ yourself daily?  What are habits that promote life for you?   
  3. How have you been able to engage in activities which score high in your Birkman Interests?  How can you incorporate more of that in the coming weeks?  Conversely, how have you avoided those on the bottom of your list?  How could you continue to minimize others’ expectations of you in these areas? 

Addressing activities that can build resilience – supernaturally 

  1. How are you abiding individually and corporately?  What are you learning right now?  How are you sharing this with others? 
  2. What are ways you can invest in others using your spiritual gifts in the next week?   
  3. Who can you affirm in their gifting or direction this week? 

Addressing resilience relationally 

  1. Who are the key individuals who are investing in you right now? 
  2. Who are the individuals you are investing into right now? 
  3. Where are you feeling most connected?   

Being resilient 

  1. How can you observe (and be grateful) for our Creator and our environment more regularly?   
  2. What are the situations where you most commonly over-extend yourself?  How can you become more aware of the situations which are pushing you beyond a healthy boundary?  (especially relevant for those with “Let me help you” in their Team Style mix) 
  3. What Underlying Need, if met, would consistently have the greatest impact on your resilience?  How can we strategize to address this in the coming week? 
  4. If you are successful in implementing these identified action steps, how do you believe you will feel differently?   

Resilience comes from us understanding our Underlying Needs, then getting these Needs met, and from consistently using our spiritual gifts.  As coaches, we must address our own resilience and then proactively help our coachees by asking probing questions to build their ability to adapt and thrive in each situation.   

As GRIP-Birman coaches, we can share hope and compassion as we build resilience together, understanding the severity of the challenge and the beauty of our Savior’s grace, mercy and love.     

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