Task-Oriented vs. People-Oriented
I have always been a task-oriented type of person. I think the older I've gotten, the Lord has taught me some things. I don't know if you would say my personality has changed, but I have been recognizing the value of people more and more than I ever have. The first five or ten years of my ministry, I was especially task-oriented.
You're either task-oriented or people-oriented. Every person falls in one of these two categories. You either default to being very task-oriented or very social/people-oriented. One of the biggest ways to tell which one you are is by how you are working. If you are working and someone comes in and wants to talk, how do you respond?
If internally you're thinking, "I'm trying to work. I've got stuff to do," you're task-oriented. If you're thinking, "Come on in and forget what I'm doing," because you like to talk and relate, then you're more people-oriented. If you find yourself being more task-oriented, you've got to remember that ministry is first and foremost about people.
People work trumps paperwork. (We don't do as much paper work anymore; it's all computer work, phone work, and digital work, but people work always trumps that kind of stuff.) As a young pastor, I would be so busy, and so task-oriented and driven, that I would run around the church doing this and that and the other. Sometimes people would stop me and ask, "Ryan, are you okay? Are you upset?"
I wasn't mad. I was just so serious and running here and there, that I would run by 50 people along the way and not look them in the eye, not say hello. I have learned that at the end of the day, ministry is about people. It is about loving people and slowing down and looking at those kids in the eye; learning their names; talking to their mom and dad; looking those volunteers in the eye and telling them how much I love them and appreciate them; sending them text messages, and dropping a card in the mail. Those are the kind of things that people remember, and I wish I would have learned that earlier.
A lot of what drives me every day is generosity, just generosity and love. Because my prayer - there are a handful of things I pray every day - but one of my prayers is to ask God if He will give me a greater capacity to love people. Lord, give me a greater capacity to love people, and just, love, love, love. That's what people need. People need to be loved, don't they? They need that, and they desire that. We all have this internal need that goes back to Adam and Eve, with a need to be loved.
It really doesn't take a whole lot. If you are more task-oriented or if you are more introverted and it's harder for you to talk to people, pray that God will help you in this area. Just determine that you are not going to walk by somebody without making eye contact, smiling, and trying to say "hello. Have a great day."
Last night on the way home from going out to eat or something, we were driving on one of those solo roads. We passed a semi and I waved at the guy. Beth said, "Why did you wave at that guy?" I said, "I don't know why I waved at that guy." I think because I had worked so hard over the last several years, that I do not want to walk by people without acknowledging them and trying to look them in the eye, and smile. I don't know why I waved at that random truck driver. Maybe he needed it. I don't always get it right; we all have bad days. However, I really do wish that I would have learned this earlier on, just to love people.
Your #1 fan,