Pumpkin Jars-Competency Trap
Continuing our series on the Pumpkin Jars that keep a church from growing and realizing our full potential is the second thinkhole, the Competency Trap. The following is from
Church Unique by Will Mancini.
COMPETENCY TRAP. The second thinkhole is the competency trap. As ministry leaders experience success over time, that very success can become a liability. The gold medals of yesterday’s accomplishments become the iron teeth around the leader’s ankle. A subtle presumption develops (“I know how to do this thing”) that eclipses active listening and reflective observation — important habits required to discern a church’s DNA. The next time you are in a learning environment, notice who is taking notes and asking questions. It is not uncommon that the most accomplished people in the room are the least receptive to new learning. This is why young leaders often intuit culture so well; they have less of an experience base to pollute their perceptions and assumptions about what works. The competency trap is easy to identify in two scenarios. The first is when a leader transitions to a new church. He or she naturally brings along the ministry patterns and programs that previously defined success. But what the leader can’t bring along is the other church’s culture. Because it is easier to duplicate familiar programs than to incarnate new ones, the leader overlooks the DNA discovery process. The second scenario occurs when an experienced leader is navigating a major transition, such as relocation or bringing on new staff. Often the leader races faster around the familiar pathways of yesterday rather than discovering new pathways of effectiveness. This “dig in your heels” approach turns leaders into talkers instead of listeners. Presumption prevents the breakthrough to self-knowledge that would otherwise open the door to new levels of leadership.
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