I. Reaching One’s Potential in Christ -- By: Jerry R. Flora

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 21:0 (NA 1989)
Article: I. Reaching One’s Potential in Christ
Author: Jerry R. Flora

I. Reaching One’s Potential in Christ

Jerry R. Flora

Dr. Flora is Professor of New Testament Theology at ATS.

The CALM project (Church Administration for Leadership and Management) addresses three areas: reaching one’s potential in Christ, resolving conflict, and managing change. The need for such attention arises from a number of directions. Some polls suggest, for example, that the average Protestant pastor in America spends more that six hours per day in administration, management, and clerical duties. Many pastors, however, believe that their real calling is to preach, teach, and lead the people of God in worship. Current estimates are that 80 percent of pastoral work involves other people (Oswald and Kroeger, 1988, 38, 70). Therefore, just on the basis of what has been cited here, administration and interpersonal relations loom large in effective pastoral ministry.

CALM was born out of such concerns. The idea seem timely, for the eighties have been a decade dedicated to improvement. Business, education, and the church sense that something has been missing. Witness some publications of the decade: Peters and Waterman, In Search of Excellence; Engstrom, The Pursuit of Excellence; Peters and Austin, A Passion for Excellence. Leaders are asking, how can we be all that we ought to be? How can we become the church that God wants us to be? How can I use the potential with which I have been graced, and do so for the glory of God and my neighbor’s good?

Reaching our potential begins with the double knowledge of God and self, together with the relationship that implies. This has long been acknowledged by some of Christendom’s greatest minds: “if one knows himself, then one knows God” (Clement of Alexandria,

3.1). “Let me know myself and let me know thee” (Augustine, Soliloquies 2.1.1). “The first step in knowing God is knowing ourselves”) Bernard of Clairvaux, quoted in Faucett, 1987, 123). “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts, the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves” (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.1.1). What we attempt here, therefore, is an exercise in increased self-awareness, realizing that this comes from God and that it permeates how we actualize our potential, resolve our conflicts, and manage the change for which we are responsible as church leaders.

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