The Problem With Being an Adaptor

So last year I took this really long leadership test here: for my Leadership and Administration in the Church class. According to this company, there are 16 different types of leaders, and I (story of my life) am the rarest one: the Adaptor.

The Adaptor leader steps into a situation and adaptors to whatever is needed. If the church is failing at Communication, I’ll see it and try to fix it. If they need a better Children’s ministry program, I’ll build it up and get it going again. If I’m sitting in a meeting where everyone is talking, I’ll be quiet (even if I have something to say.) If we need a confrontational leader, I’ll be the one to do it.

Some of the other leadership types are: Director, Motivator. Stylish innovator, the Harmonizer… and many others.

When I first took the test, my professor told me he’d never met a true adaptor. There are two parts to the test and usually he could tell from the second part where someone who scored as an adaptor (in part one) actually fell based on the results of part two. But, of course, not me. In his 23 years of administrating the test, he’d never met an adaptor until me. So naturally, I was wondering if I really was one based on his comments. Now that I’m several months into a job where I’m basically the head honcho… I absolutely know it’s true.

And I hate it.

So far, a lot of the stuff needed at the church is stuff way outside my “sweet spot”. My sweet spot is also stuff that’s needed. Eventually. But right not there are more pressing needs I must attend to in order to make it through. But what this is doing to me is causing me to burn out faster than I should, because I am spending a lot more time out of my gifting than I am in my gifting. But I’m still good at the other stuff. So good people want me to keep doing it. 

So right now I’m really struggling to figure out where God’s grace is in all of this. While I know there are many aspects of ministry I am not equipped to do, I know there are more I am not called to do. But when I find myself in a culture that lacks commitment and wants to paid staff person to do it, I search for ways to help them understand why I shouldn’t do it, and that’s not just why I don’t want to do it. I firmly believe God wants us to flourish in certain areas of ministry and not all areas. But I find myself pushing against a wall put there long ago by a church that doesn’t want to or think they should have to do it themselves.

Is this the death of the lay leader? Sometimes it feels like it is. I am pleading for God’s gracious hand to figure out some ways for me to find time, in the midst of simply keeping parts of the ministry surviving in this church, to equip and empower others to do it instead.

God, I pray for a transformation of my heart and theirs. PLease give them the passion to commit. Please give me the spine to say no. Please offer wisdom for me to make this work.


Posted via email from stephanienels’s posterous

2 Comments on “The Problem With Being an Adaptor

  1. This makes so much sense, especially for someone in a support staff position.

    You need to train your people to see you as a leader and an equipper, instead of a person hired to do what they do not want to do.

    Easier said than done.


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