Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Maximizing Your Strengths!

Yesterday in Nashville, we had some very special guests with us for a training seminar with our girls and staff. Dr. Alina Lehnert, Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership at Evangel University, and her sister Briana Leach volunteered their time to do a day-long workshop with our entire staff and residents on discovering our strengths using the Strengths Finder material (www.strengthsfinder.com).

It was especially fun to have these young ladies with us as I used to go to church with their mother, Nevell, back in the early 1980s right before I moved to Louisiana to start the first Mercy home - I remember Alina was about 7 years old, and Nevell was pregnant with Briana. It was so cool to reconnect with them last fall when I was speaking in Springfield, Missouri at the Designed for Life Women's Conference at James River Assembly and to find out that both girls were all grown up and happily married. It was at that time that I found out that Alina was teaching at Evangel University in Springfield, and had actually gotten her PhD in Organizational Leadership and had done her dissertation research on strengths in leadership. I learned that Briana had gotten her Master's in Counseling and has done most of her work with young women, so she was excited to join her sister in walking all of our staff and girls through the Strengths Finder material.

Nevell, Alina, Nancy and Briana

We learned about our unique strengths and how God has made each of us differently and with a different part to play. We were created with individual strengths and talents, and learned how we can capitalize on our strengths in the workplace and in our daily lives. This training was so encouraging for our staff and girls as we not only learned about our own strengths, but also one another’s.

Here is what a few of the girls and staff had to say about the special training time yesterday:

Shaina, a resident, said,”Wow! Boy did I enjoy this seminar, it made me realize a lot about myself and why I am the way that I am. The speaker said “the more you know yourself the easier it is for you to relate to others. I see now that God fashions people differently. All these years I’ve wasted wanting to be like someone else, God was just waiting for me to discover what and who He made me! AND He did a beautiful job! I am uniquely Shaina!”

Kay, a staff member said, “It was eye opening to hear that our culture has taught us to be “well rounded”, however, God made us each with unique strengths, not to do everything well, but do what He created us for with excellence. It was also encouraging to realize when we partner with others, our different strengths compliment each other and make us better together than we are alone.”

Ally, a resident, said, “Finding out what my strengths are and understanding what they mean was interesting. The way they all work together made me understand myself better. I also realized how unique we are and how we can all work together and compliment and feed off others. Seeing the good in some of my strengths and understanding how to use them in productive ways was helpful. I plan to implement this information by reminding myself that God made me and on one else is just like me.”

Dave, a staff member, said, “It was such a great way to not only find out something new about myself, but also a great way to confirm things I already knew. It's an amazing opportunity to find out about those surrounding you in order to build up the overall strengths of the ministry.”

Here are a few pictures from our time together.

Dr Alina Lehnert teaching our Nashville staff

Briana working with our girls

Briana, Nancy and Alina


marie said...

This looks like a great workshop. It's true that sometimes those in the Body try to fit into a certain "mold", which, even if it's a "Christian mold", only breeds unhappiness and discontent if someone is trying to minister in a way she was never intended.

I wish I could sing and belt out "Hosanna" like my church's worship leader. However, I can't. God gave me a different strength - the ability to write well. Unless I'm honing and using that gift for His glory, I'm not truly using my spiritual gifts. The same hold true for all of us.

Great blog, btw.