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No, You Don't Want to Take Your Ministry to the Next Level

Posted: August 25, 2016 by Rob Voyle

The Problem of Status

No, You Don't Want to Take Your Ministry to the Next Level

Taking something, as in job, career, business, ministry, church etc., to the next level is a very common phrase in the coaching world. It is often used in the promotion of coaching services:

Do you want to take your career to the next level?

Or we are promised that we can "Take your business to the level!

And many clients come to coaching with a genuine desire to achieve the next level in their career, thinking this is an honorable goal.

But all this desire and promotion to get to the next level indicates that coaching (or any form of helping) can be perverted for an erroneous and potentially harmful goal.

As my friend Andy Austin has shown in the Metaphors of Movement Training the motivation of "taking something to the next level" is all about status seeking.

Jesus had some words of advice about not seeking status because when you reach that level you have further to fall and the greater the humiliation.

The higher you go the more painful the fall and so we spend more energy ensuring we will not fall rather than pursuing the good we could be doing. Protecting status can be very energy consuming.

Clergy too often want to take their ministry to the next level, often because they want a bigger church. The next level is always up. I have never had a pastor say: "I want to take my ministry to the next level and find a smaller church."

I have heard of people "down-sizing" which seems to be a good thing especially when we are tired of maintaining a higher level but in general when we think of levels and direction up seems to be good and down bad. For example, heaven is always up and hell is always down.

The idea of being at different levels is also interesting from the perspective of who we look up to and who we look down on. If we look up to someone then they will have to look down on us.

When Jesus called his disciples friends, he leveled the playing field. There would be no looking up or down on one another, we are now all on the same level.

So why engage a coach. Definitely not to take your ministry to the next level.

Here are some status free possibilities:

• Perhaps you want to develop your expertise in ministry not so that you would be at a new level above others but that you would be able to do more good and more efficiently regardless of what level you are at.

• Perhaps you want to level out the discrepancies in your life and integrate the demands of your personal and professional life.

• Perhaps you want a thinking partner to help you discern where the One who calls you his friend is leading you next.

If you are interested in learning more about the language of levels check you calendars for Andy Austin's training in Boulder next year May 5-10, Metaphors of Movement Training

With Blessings for Your Life and Work

Rob Voyle
Director, Clergy Leadership Institute

P.S. Please let me know if you are interested in sharing in my act of cultural sedition and hosting a Forgiveness Training program in your church.

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The Appreciative Way

The Appreciative Way
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About the Author

Rob Voyle

Rob Voyle

The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle is a leader in the development and use of appreciative inquiry in church and coaching settings.

Rob's Approach to Training

  • Helpful: Training must provide practical, sustainable solutions for today's challenges.
  • Humorous: Creativity and humor go together as people enjoy new insights.
  • Healing: I create opportunities for people to experience transformational insights that lead to new ways of living, working, and being in the world.

>>   See more on Rob's
        Helpful, Humorous, Healing
        approach to training.