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I’ve learned few things more important in my ministry than knowing (and embracing) my personal ministry DNA!

For many years, I thought it was holy and spiritual to be who the church needed me to be. I could be all things to all people in order to win some. And because of that, I found myself in several churches where, even though we all served the same Jesus, our make-ups weren’t quite a match.

That’s not to say bad ministry happened. It was great ministry. We served together well. But the joy and pleasure of serving—at least for me—was dimmed by the fact that it just wasn’t quite my slice of pizza.

After years of feeling guilty about that, I have come to a conclusion. God makes us each unique and individualistic…sort of like specific members of a body! I need to embrace and enjoy my unique make-up for ministry.

1. I need to listen for red flags (or even yellow ones) during the interview process. That doesn’t make me a bad or cynical person. It would be very unhealthy to join my DNA with incompatible DNA!

2. I need to be honest during the interview process about who I am and how I do things. If we find out that we aren’t a match during the interview process—hey, isn’t that what interviews are for? Don’t be someone you aren’t, just to get a job!

3. Don’t apologize or be ashamed of who you are. For me, that’s a person who tries to be lovingly direct with an edge of confrontation—asking hard questions—and loving even when the answers don’t come easy. Not everyone appreciates that—and that’s okay! Not everyone has to like me or love me, and I can be sensitive to those not like me (or not liking me) without giving up who I am.

4. Be sensible enough to know that incompatible DNA is a disaster waiting to happen. Rejection is inevitable. If you find yourself in a church where your DNA doesn’t match, don’t be ashamed to look for a new position. It’s healthier to do that than to try to force the body to accept DNA that just doesn’t fit. (Now be aware, we aren’t just talking about minor differences here—be righteous enough to work through those kinds of issues in a loving, biblical way!)

“If the shoe fits” is usually said with a little sarcasm and snide tongue-in-cheek. But I say ‘YES!!’ I’ll wear that shoe!! After all, have you ever tried to wear shoes that don’t fit?? Miserable. Uncomfortable. Painful. Know your shoe size—and wear it well for the Kingdom.

Darren is a veteran youth pastor in Corpus Christi, TX, and co-hosts a weekly podcast for parents of teenagers (http://www.facebook.com/mipodcast) with his wife, Katie.

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