I needed a prescription refill and hadn’t seen a doctor since we moved to Las Vegas, so I went in for a routine doctor’s appointment last week. Amidst the expected barrage of health related questions (Do you take any medications?, Have you had any surgeries?, Have you ever been hospitalized?, etc.), there was one question I don’t think I’d ever heard before.
“How’s your mental health?”
Heard that one? I answered without thinking, “Good.”
The nurse hurried on to the next question and then I said, “Wait…does anyone ever tell you their mental health is bad?” ”Oh yeah,” she said. ”They’ll tell me they’re depressed or anxious, something like that.”
I have to admit I was a little surprised. I can see it, I guess, but it just seems likely that mental health would be a difficult self-diagnosis. Know what I mean?
How Does This Apply to You and Me?
Between coaching calls, emails from readers, and comments on the blog I listen to a regular dose of self-diagnosis.
- “We’ve been stuck at 7 small groups for three years…so we’re only hoping to launch two new groups this fall.”
- “Our congregation has very few adults who are spiritually mature…so we’re struggling to find people with small group leadership potential.”
- “People here are busy…so they won’t really commit to a small group.”
Ever heard these lines? Ever said them yourself? Can you hear the self-diagnosis? Can you hear the mindset? Can you see how the mindset might actually limit what is possible?
The Value of Fresh Eyes and Ears
The challenge of self-diagnosis is why it makes so much sense to invite an outsider to take your ministry’s temperature and check its blood pressure; to offer a diagnosis and prescription.
With me? It does make sense, doesn’t it? After all, fresh eyes and ears offer an invaluable perspective. And since lives hang in the balance, who would knowingly disregard that responsibility? I’ve always believed that one of the things we’ll be held accountable for is the way we steward and shepherd human resources (Matthew 25:14-30).
So…what if you have an incorrect self-diagnosis? What if your mindset is limiting what is possible? Wouldn’t it be worth bringing a pair of fresh eyes into the discussion? Don’t underestimate this essential aspect of effective ministry. You can find out how to schedule a coaching call right here. At a minimum…make plans to talk through your self-diagnosis with an outsider. You’ll sleep better. You’ll have a much better chance of hearing “well done.”