We’re all different, aren’t we? As I managed a title and escrow company through the years, the strengths and weaknesses of every one of our associates became crystal clear very quickly. It’s fairly simple to watch another person work and observe where they excel and in what areas they struggle. As a manager, it was my job to try to coordinate all the different strengths and weaknesses to create a team that could be successful. (Stay with me here, I really do wrap this up with a church application!)
There seems to be two schools of thought in the business world regarding employees’ strengths and weaknesses.
1) Play to their strengths, and not their weaknesses,
2) Place staff in their areas of strength, but also try to work on the weaknesses.
Let’s look at each of these and see where the Bible offers us some instruction.
Play to their strengths, and not their weaknesses
The idea here is your job as manager is to push folks to excel where they are mostly likely to succeed. Similar to a football team, if one individual is going to make a terrific nose guard, he likely won’t be a good wide receiver or a quarterback. The skill sets are just completely different. This model accepts the skill-gaps for what they are and works around them to capitalize on the abilities of the employee.
If your greatest concern as a manager is profit (or ROI, or productivity, or whatever other metrics I use for my team’s success), then this is the model for you. This model is completely focused on outcomes for the business unit with little regard for the individual.
Am I suggesting that this model is sinful or somehow wrong? Not at all! However, I suggest it is a business model that comes from a secular worldview.
I would add that this model can take a sinful turn because of what’s going on in the heart of the manager or the staff. If the focus of the team is rooted in greed and self-centeredness – then it becomes sin.
“Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
~ Luke 12:15
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
~ 1 Timothy 6:10
Place staff in their areas of strength, but also try to work on the weaknesses
In this model, the manager recognizes and uses the areas of strength for the employee while also helping the employee improve in those areas where they struggle. One of the benefits of this idea is that as the company grows and shrinks through the business cycle, the employee is much better positioned to work in different areas, if they have been cross-trained in those areas where they formerly lacked. The employee and the company (or business unit) become much more flexible and agile.
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
~ Acts 20:35
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
~ Philippians 2:4
By now you’re saying: “Great, but where does a church fit into all of this?”
As the body of Christ, I absolutely believe Christians should be serving in their strengths – we are called to use our gifts.
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
~ Romans 12:4-8
But as the body of Christ we also need to be lifting each other up in our areas of weakness, and particularly in areas of sin. The pastor shouldn’t beat up the sheep, nor should the sheep pick on each other. We lift each other up in love.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
~ Hebrews 10:24-25
Consider this: While we see strengths and weaknesses in each other as believers, we can also discover strengths and weaknesses in church bodies. Some churches have great teaching. Other churches do an incredible job of serving one another in love. We find yet other churches that disciple believers very well, and still others that reach out to the local community better than most. We even see a few churches that seem to be running on all cylinders and some that struggle in many areas.
Is not the body of Christ made up not only of individual believers, but also of individual congregations? God calls us to act like a human body, made up of many parts – each helping one another. Yet we often don’t act that way.
As part of the 4 strategic areas of the GSAE in the next year, we areplanning to call on each one of our area churches to cooperate with each other.
Let’s remember that together we are the Body and that with Christ all things are possible! There is nothing – no thing – that prevents God from using us to reach our community for Jesus!
All we need to do is to work together.
(Footnote: It’s important to remember that in order to work together for the Kingdom we do need to be in agreement on some basic doctrine. To read our statement of faith, click here.)