Ministry With Attitude!

Posted by Jerry Roth on

Many leadership pundits often repeat the belief that “Culture eats vision for breakfast.” In my research this week, I was reminded of this truism by Tim Spivey in his article, Attitude, attitude, attitude .... Spivey develops this thought as he writes, “And, attitude is a leading indicator of culture. You can’t execute a God-honoring vision without God-honoring culture.”

Spivey believes that it is important to seek healthy attitudes when selecting people to serve as leaders and staff in your church ministry. He suggests looking for the following qualities:

  • An understanding of the importance of every task of ministry as Christ-honoring. Nothing is beneath them
  • An orientation toward encouragement rather than criticism
  • They exhibit the fruits of the Spirit in their interactions with others
  • An ability to manage anxiety or “heartburn” in ways that avoid gossip, slander, passive-aggressiveness or worse
  • They love the church in how they serve and what they say
  • They have a supportive orientation toward leadership, with challenge/critique being a next or last resort…not a first.”

Charles Swindoll also believed in the importance of attitude. Listen to his wisdom,

 The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” (see goodreads quotes)

In the blog Life In Student Ministry, Tim Schmoyer posted the article Trends in a church staff that reflect God's heart . The author shared his thoughts on attitude among staff including,

  • They have fun together by building relationships outside of the ministry
  • They encourage each other
  • The communicate well
  • A humble servant attitude
  • The ability to be flexible

In a Leadership Wired article (Volume 10, Issue 9), John Maxwell offers a balanced perspective on the issue of attitude. He notes, “Your attitude is the paint brush of your mind. It colors your world with brilliant optimism or a dark veneer of negativity.” He goes on to add the following analysis.

What Your Attitude Cannot Do For You

  • Substitute for Competence
  • Substitute for Experience
  • Change the Facts
  • Substitute for Personal Growth

What Your Attitude Can Do For You

  • Make a Difference in Your Approach to Life
  • Make a Difference in Your Relationships with People
  • Make a Difference in How You View Challenges

As a final thought, I like this hopeful statement from author Meg Wheatley,

“How will we navigate these times? The answer is, together. We need each other differently now. We cannot hide behind our boundaries, or hold onto the belief that we can survive alone. We need each other to test out ideas, to share what we’re learning, to help us see in new ways, to listen to our stories. We need each other to forgive us when we fail, to trust us with their dreams, to offer their hope when we’ve lost our own.” (Wheatley, M. Leadership and the New Science, pg. 174, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1999)

How do you feel about the importance of attitude among church staff and leaders? What characteristics would you share that contribute to healthy, vibrant ministry? What methods do you use to identify these qualities as you select staff and leaders for your church?

If The Center for Parish Leadership can assist you in developing your church staff or leaders, please Contact Us .


Jerry Roth

Research Analyst

The Center for Parish Leadership



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