Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fivefold Identity : Immaturity As Our Starting Point

Mike Breen posts very helpfully on how immature apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers impact others, here.  Immaturity, of course, does not imply wilfully bad behaviour (though that happens), but describes the condition of not yet having been discipled to maturity: just as children are appropriately immature, it is a good starting point, though a bad place to remain, to not grow-beyond into maturity.

Mike’s focus is primarily what apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers look like leading missional communities.  While all disciples are called to make disciples, not everyone is called to lead missional communities; most are called to some other vocation – and, indeed, many who lead such communities are bi-vocational.  I am particularly interested in helping disciples who are called into any workplace context to be there as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher – pioneering, or consolidating, the kingdom of heaven in the world.  And recognising the patterns of immaturity is actually one way in which we come to discern what God has made us to be – in order that we can then invest in growing into a mature expression of our identity.  [Disclaimer: this is, of course, only one part of the discernment process!]

So here is somewhere to begin:

You might be an apostle if your CV shows that you have a track-record of starting new careers and quickly dropping out and trying something else (though this may simply indicate an extreme lack of self-discipline); or if you have been successfully involved in developing several start-up or short-term projects, but these have either failed to translate into something long-term or you have struggled to remain effective when they have.

You might be a prophet if you are confident, perhaps even at times over-confident, that you see how a structure (such as an organisation: your workplace, the government) or system (ethos to a workplace, way of doing things) needs to change – to be more just; or to be fit-for-purpose or ahead-of-the-game in a changing future – but you struggle to involve other people, who may be better equipped to communicate the need for or actually implement that change, because to do so would inevitably require and result in a compromise of your ideals.

You might be an evangelist if you operate as a ‘salesperson’ (not necessarily in a formal sense) for a particular product, or in ‘public relations’ for a particular organisation.  This may include yourself, your own ability – and where this is perceived to be aggressive, as it may often be, it may have resulted in unpopularity.  You may be an evangelist if you struggle to accept that others do not share your passion, or respect their right to not do so.

You might be a pastor if you regularly find yourself a trusted confidante, because you affirm people in their disputes – genuine or perceived – without asking them to see the other person’s perspective, or challenging their attitude or behaviour.  You may well have a strong desire to avoid conflict at all costs.  You might be a pastor if you need to be needed – which may be manifest in nurturing co-dependency.

You might be a teacher if you have a love of learning – within your particular field, or any sphere – for the sake of acquiring knowledge, even the status of ‘expert,’ but lack confidence to – or even any interest in – passing learning on to others.

No comments:

Post a Comment