• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Character and competence

During a recent visit to Hong Kong, Mark invited me to attend a short seminar with him.  Each speaker was given fifteen minutes to talk about the topic they had been assigned.  One of the speakers spoke on character and competence. Fifteen minutes was not a long time to discuss such a deep issue, but it was fifteen minutes well worth my time.

Most nonprofit agencies do a good job of training their people in the character skills needed to serve in such a ministry. We, in World Team, have been traditionally strong on the area of character.  We have worked through our smaller communities as well as large gatherings to demonstrate how the Gospel works its way deep into our hearts to change the way we relate to and work with others.

However, most agencies are weak in the area of competence.  In other words, most agencies do not have a well defined body of knowledge and skills that need to be called upon by a worker to be able to do his/her job.  This is the developmental piece – knowledge, skills and abilities – that is often neglected.  So, in the case of World Team, we may send out a worker to start new communities of believers, but he/she does not have the skills or capacity to do what we are asking them to do.  They lack the competence needed.

In the coming months, we will be working towards this goal: Each worker/leader partnering with World Team Global will be able to give voice to ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’

Next post: Raising our level of competency.

5 Responses

  1. There is definitely a need for a balanced set of character and skill in the life of any worker. Steven Covey, in his book “The Speed of Trust” states that while a character flaw is the quickest way to lose trust, a clear competency is the quickest way to gain trust. We do need to be faithful – at doing what’s necessary.

    • You said it well. Our trouble is that we often separate the two elements (character and competence) and focus only on one of them, when we need to seek a balance between the two. In the case of WT, I believe we can become more fruitful for the Lord by applying some energies to growing in needed competencies, whether they be ones we are already working on or new competencies we need to gain skill in.

      • Yes, Keep them together. Knowledge and Competency without Love are nothing. Love will always look for greater competence in ordser to love well.

  2. Having been with David to hear this speaker’s comments on the necessity of both character and competence I wholeheartedly agree on this being 15 minutes well spent. But while I have found the words competent or the opposite, incompetent, to be helpful descriptions for myself or others, what I have been finding is that some believers detest the words. They find them, and especially the one word incompetence, unworthy of use in a Christian context. I think the WT community needs to wrestle with this and we need a friendly discussion between those of us who like the words and what they represent and those of us who find them unbecoming of our vocabulary.

    • Vocabulary can be a stumbling block that actually keeps us from addressing a need we may have. I try to give other ways of expressing competency and incompetency, if those words are not helpful to others. The bottom line is that there are areas we are not ‘skilled’ or ‘properly trained’ to do the work we are being asked to do, and we need development help in those areas. Perhaps, a larger issue may be our unwillingness to ask for help or admit we have a developmental need.

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