Leadership in Faith Communities
with Rev. Kathleen Panning

Knowing the God-given gifts others see in you improves communication, teamwork and furthers the mission and ministry of your congregation or nonprofit. Not knowing these gifts fuels conflict, miscommunication, impedes teamwork and so can hamper the mission of your organization.

Kathleen PanningPastor Kathleen Panning earned her Master of Divinity Degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.  She was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1980. She has served congregations in rural and urban settings, ranging in size from 150 – 6000+ members. Kathleen has trained as a mentor and coach and supervised seminary students for 14 years.

After retiring from parish ministry in 2014 she became the first clergy person to become a Fascinate® Certified Advisor in 2014. In 2017 she began hosting “Aflame Ministry,” an interfaith internet radio show on the BBM Global Network, Apple Podcast and several other podcast platforms.

In addition to continuing to host her radio show, Kathleen uses the How To Fascinate® material with faith leaders and their leadership board to help them improve communication and work together as a team.

Kathleen and her husband, who is also a pastor, live in South Carolina. Her hobbies include walking her 2 dogs and gardening.

More about Rev. Kathleen Panning HERE


Read the Interview

Hugh Ballou: Greetings, everyone. Welcome to this episode of The Nonprofit Exchange. We’re six years into this interview process with amazing people who have amazing things to share. Even though we have had similar topics or the same topic, people have a different spin on it, a different set of observations and utilizations for those skills. We are here to help nonprofit leaders and clergy upgrade their skills and learn some business principles to embed into their organizations. We don’t use them the same as they are used in business, but we must learn some of these good sound principles for running what amounts to a tax-exempt business, whether it’s a 501(c)3, a 501(c)6, or a religious institution.

Today, we are going to focus on leadership skills for clergy. However, this is applicable to anybody in any area of leadership. We are going to be talking about the Fascinate assessment. We are going to use Hugh Ballou as an example. I’m sure those of you who know me will not be surprised by any of the results that we talk about. Kathleen Panning, welcome to The Nonprofit Exchange. Tell people a little bit about yourself.

Kathleen Panning: Thank you, Hugh. It’s a pleasure and honor to be here with you today. I am a retired Lutheran pastor. I have been ordained for 40 years. I say that with hesitation because it doesn’t seem possible. I’ve served in congregations of all sizes. My first parish assignment was in two small rural congregations. I was there for seven and a half years, which was far longer than any of my predecessors. The last two and a half years of that, I tended to feel like I was butting my head against a brick wall and couldn’t figure out why. Nobody had taught me anything about congregations that are used to a turnover after a certain number of years, and what happens to the mindset of a congregation. They go so far with you and then expect you to leave and don’t go any further. I was going further with them, and they weren’t equipped of the understanding as to why they should try something new or different. Those last two and a half years were pretty hard.

Then I moved to a congregation of about 6,000 members, one of five full-time pastors on the staff there. Totally different experience. I had a more limited portfolio, doing some specific things within the ministry. I thought things were going great; I was going to be there for a long time. A new lead pastor came in and about nine months later, I was given the choice of either resigning or being fired. I don’t usually tell this, but that was such a blow. I had never experienced anything like that before. It hurt tremendously. I felt shame. I felt like I’d let my family down. It was a really difficult thing for me to experience.

But it also opened my eyes to the reality that I had not gotten training in seminary to be really a leader. I’d gotten a lot of training about Biblical material, about theology and church history and pastoral care and some things about worship and worship leadership and those kinds of things, but not about leadership per se. I started looking around at my fellow clergypeople and realized they didn’t really have a better clue than I did, unless they had been in business prior to that. Most of us at that point in time had not had that experience. I went into seminary right out of college and right into ministry, so I didn’t have any of that.

I went through four units of clinical pastoral education and moved to a different part of the country with my husband, who is also a pastor in the Lutheran church. We became pastors of a congregation together, which was another dynamic, a clergy couple, and navigating that. The interesting thing was in the meantime, I had also started to find mentors and people, some within the church, but a lot of them outside of my faith, as to some leadership ideas and some things to learn and grow in myself as well as understanding other people, getting much better listening skills than I had had, and what that could be. That proved to be extremely critical in this call my husband and I had together.

It was about two years into that ministry, the congregation ended up in the beginnings of a six-year-long legal battle over where someone was buried in the church cemetery. A member of the congregation sued the widow of the person who was buried and the congregation over where this individual was buried. Navigating that with the board and other members of the congregation to keep the congregation hopefully from splitting and to provide good leadership in that time, it was critical I had some of these other experiences, which I never got in seminary and hadn’t had up until that point.

I’ve continued to learn, continued to grow, and look for people who can help me understand leadership and be able to share that with others. I’ve been a mentor and field education supervisor for 14 years for students from seminary and helping them get some ideas and navigating through some of this as well. Now I’m retired and found this assessment tool, which is very different than any other kind of assessment that I’ve ever taken before. It’s turning into a very useful tool for clergy, for nonprofit boards, for the leadership board within congregations.

Hugh: And it’s very easy. I just took it this morning, and it didn’t hardly take me any time. You and I looked at it, but it’s amplifying some things that I need to stay in touch with. At almost 74, I am learning more today than I ever have before. I specialize in leadership development, but I am still studying it and still learning. I find people who think they don’t need that, and I think they’re dangerous. I spent a 40-year career in the church as well as a music director from a 120-member congregation to 12,000. I was one of a cast of thousands. A strategic position in middle management. I had the responsibility for designing and leading worship in multiple forms. The Lutherans have a little more rigid pattern of worship than Presbyterians or Methodists. We have gotten away from the book of common worship.

I’ll tell a funny story. I was in Moorhead, Minnesota with Concordia studying with Renee Lawson.

Kathleen: Very Lutheran territory.

Hugh: Oh, yes. I was there on a Sunday, so I made the mistake of looking for a Presbyterian church in Minnesota.

Kathleen: They’re there.

Hugh: Very rare. It doesn’t matter what name you have on the door for the institution. The problems that you’ve identified are generic. It’s not just clergy. You’re so right. There are very few seminaries that do a program on leadership. My friend, Bishop William Willimon, was on this show last year, and he is out of the bishop episcopacy and is back at Duke Divinity School. He’s teaching divinity students about leadership. Nothing happens without leadership, and we have a huge deficit. He had a different take than you’re going to have.

Tell me why is it important for us to know more about ourselves? There are multiple assessments out there. It really doesn’t matter the instrument. I particularly like this one because it’s easy to take, and there is a lot of information on the back end, which is dead-on for me. Why is having this view of self and this view of how others see you helpful to the leader first? After that, let’s talk about how it’s helpful to a board, congregation, or membership.

Kathleen: First of all, just to make people understand, other assessments like Myers Briggs, DISC, Kolbe, they’re very good. They’re based on psychology. This one is not. It’s based on anthropology, neuroscience, sociology, and other things. It’s also marketing. The woman who developed it, Sally Hogshead, comes from a marketing background. She was an award-winning marketer in her mid-20s, which is highly unusual. She developed this after a three-year period of intensive study to try to figure out there are certain brands that attract people and why. What is it about those brands that people find fascinating? Things like Nike. She helped develop the tagline for Nike. You all know that. “Just do it.” Why is it that people find that kind of brand and that tagline fascinating? That took her on this road of discovery and study.

She came up with this assessment and narrowed it down to the most essential questions. 28 of them, as opposed to the other ones that have several hundred. That’s why it only took you about 10 minutes to do this. Yes, it’s spot-on. This assessment does not tell us how we see the world, which is what the other ones do. This one tells us how others see us. I call the other ones an inside-out perspective. This one is an outside-in perspective.

I don’t know about you, Hugh, but when I was growing up, there were things about the way I did things that some people said were great. But there were other things that people said, “You should be more like so-and-so.” I was a quieter kid and not as outgoing. There were times when people would tell me, “You need to be more outgoing. You need to do more of this or that.” Yet they were taking one of my God-given gifts and saying it’s not right, it’s not good enough. The outside-in perspective here helps us see some of those God-given gifts that sometimes we don’t know that other people see in us when we are at our best, and how those gifts can really be tools and God-given ways to share the message. For clergy, it’s sharing the message of God’s love.

One of the reasons I love this assessment is because it helps us see ourselves a little bit better about how others see us when we are at our best, and how to then maybe use that more as we are a leader. What are the gifts that we have that can help other people see that message? What are the gifts that we have that we can use to bring other people along and to open up and develop the ministry of the congregation?

Hugh: I think this prompts a question for me. I have always had a problem with how we interpret the golden rule. Treat others as you would have them treat you. No. If people say that to me, I get angry. No, I will treat them as I want to be treated. Not everybody has the same standards. If I treat everyone else like I want to be treated, they get upset. I’m very direct. I’m very structured. I like things in order. I am a recovering Presbyterian, decently and in order. There is a way I see the world. Doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong. It’s just my preference. Talk about how Fascinate helps a leader to understand others, not only yourself, but others. Do they have to take the assessment for this to be effective both ways?

Kathleen: It helps if you take it. Like everybody on your leadership team or the staff were to do it. Even as the solo pastor or priest/rabbi/imam, you can still do this. The more you understand this and all of the variety of ways that this comes through, you’re able to start seeing the gifts in other people.

Let me give you an example. One of the congregations that I served, there was a younger man on the church board who was working with the youth. He got all excited about how they were going to be going to a national gathering in summertime. He got all excited about that and started some fundraising and getting the kids involved with that. After a couple months, at the board meeting, people were asking him how things were going, and he was saying, “We’re working on a ski trip.” What happened to the other things? He was so excited about each new thing that sometimes the ball gets dropped on what he was starting before.

In the Fascinate material, he would be somebody who is high in Innovation, very creative, always loving new ideas, and a fountain of new ideas at times, if really high on that. And somebody who gets one idea and is there for a while, and it’s on to the next one, and on to the next one. Sometimes, those other things got dribbled along the way. That got very frustrating to other people on the committee, and to the other adults who were helping with the youth group. As I got to understand, and thinking back, because I didn’t have this when I was at that congregation, thinking back on that, to be able to pair him with somebody who is more detail-oriented, who could help keep him on track and focused, and who could help do the planning that were important to following through, would be very helpful. Instead of seeing him as somebody who can’t get things done, could see him as somebody who had a wonderful gift of being very creative, and then pairing him with somebody else who had another wonderful gift of the details and the follow-through so that together, they would be more advantageous.

Hugh: That is brilliant. Years ago, I interviewed another friend, Cal Turner, who went to his leadership board at Dollar General and said, “My father founded this company. I got this job as chair of the board and president because of my genes, not my skill. You have the skills; I have the vision. We’re going to go public.” What he said to me is, “Hugh, leadership is about defining your gaps and finding good people to fill those gaps.” We teach at SynerVision not strengths and weaknesses; we teach skills and gaps. Just because I don’t do something a certain way like somebody else, doesn’t mean I’m weak in it. What I do is I find somebody to do the editing for the writing that I do because I throw out a bunch of ideas, and it’s hard to go back and see what I have written and proof it and see if I have said something dumb or said the wrong word incorrectly.

Looking at those gaps is probably letting go of some of the old habits that we inherited or experienced. Part of the self-discovery is looking at our blind spots. I just took this this morning. I came out as Ringleader.

Kathleen: Ringleader, yes.

Hugh: You weren’t surprised, you said.

Kathleen: No. Let me back up a little bit. For people to know, there are seven advantages that this assessment shows. We each have all seven of these, but one is the one that is our primary way of communicating our highest value. Then there is the secondary one. We are equally adept at using. By combining those two, you get a graph of seven by seven. That means there are 49 different archetypes possible. Yours comes out as Power as your primary and secondary as Passion. The archetype for that is the Ringleader. If we flipped those, and you were using more Passion, and Power was taking a backseat at a moment, you would be the People’s Champion. We can easily flip back and forth between those two.

Hugh: If I have another person or other people on my team who have taken the assessment, can I then find a person with complimenting skills?

Kathleen: Right. To take that a little further, a time maybe when a congregation is going into a building program, or considering today’s reality, needing to do some fundraising, rethinking things, how we do things in light of the current realities of life. They put together a committee or a team to look at this. Think through what kinds of people do you need on that team. If you put together a team for building a new building where everybody has a vision of what the building should look like and what it needs, and you don’t have somebody in there with all the details and who can do the budgeting and financial stuff, things won’t go so well with that. You need somebody in there with the vision, the innovation. You need somebody in there to take control, the CEO type, which is the Power, like you have. But you also need people in there with detail orientation. That can show you when you are putting together a team what kinds of people do we need on here. Look around and see the people in your leadership board or even within your congregation. Who has these abilities? Maybe not a specific skill, but a personality assessment.

If you’re hiring somebody new for a staff position, we look for somebody with certain skills. Great. What about the personality to fit in with the rest of you? That’s equally important. You could have someone with all the right skills who personality-wise does not mesh. To put these things together as a way of finding the right kind of combinations of people as a way to do that can be really powerful within a church or a nonprofit organization.

Hugh: This word “power” is empowering. It’s also disturbing. Part of my methodology is teaching. Let’s take a conductor paradigm. A conductor is perceived by non-conductors to be a dictator. I have this little white stick here. I can’t make anybody do anything because I can’t beat people with it. The conductor is an influencer. We influence people.

In Atlanta, I hired members of the Atlanta Symphony, very tight union. Very precise. They came in. They dared me. They are used to working with top-notch conductors from all over the world, and here is Hugh Ballou who hired them for his church. I got 50 players there, and they’re daring me. I can’t boss them, but what I can do is influence them. It’s important that I have mastered the vision of where I am going and can articulate it. It’s also important that I have worked on my skillset. The orchestra is a really good model of a diverse team. Not only do you have different nuances of sound, but you have personalities that go with these different instruments.

Let’s pick on Hugh a minute. I came out strong in Power. Clergy are in a position of power. There is a power differential between clergy and a church member. That’s where clergy get in trouble with personal relationships. There is the improper use of power, not just in the church. But in the church, it’s magnified because it’s the pastor. There is this sacredness about the leadership that people don’t challenge. Now, we are starting to challenge some of the misbehaviors. But there is a paradigm that clergy play into and congregations expect. There is a power piece, but there is also the functioning piece. The overfunctioning. The pastors that I hear complaining about how nobody will step up to help are the pastors who overfunction, so people don’t see the need to help. There is a reciprocity to what we do as leaders. Overfunctioning, the reciprocity is underfunctioning. The improper use, even unaware, of power stifles the creative input from other people because they don’t think they have permission.

Talk about how I show up as Power, and how that’s informing me. It might be a liability or a benefit.

Kathleen: It becomes a liability if that is the only advantage you are using. Because then it goes over the top, and you can become the bully. If you think of this grid of the 49 combinations, each one of those is a time where each of the advantages is doubled. Power + Power is a problem. When Power is your primary and your secondary, if that’s all that you’re using, then it becomes a real problem. That is true for any of the advantages. When we are doubling up on one of those advantages, then it becomes what Sally Hogshead calls double trouble. One of the ways to think about power doubled up is somebody who becomes a bully, the Dictator. Somebody who uses that baton to talk to the first chair violin, “Why can’t you ever get anything done?” and come down hard and bully people. That kind of thing.

But by pairing your Power with Passion, which is your secondary, that is the people orientation.  That is the one who comes in and is concerned about relationships. That is the advantage that people talks about understanding where people are and being able to read emotions. Because you have that combination, then you can use that power to inspire people in the orchestra so they want to follow you. It’s not that you’re the cutthroat leader; you’re the inspiring force. And giving direction to that. If it was Power + Innovation, which is your third, then you become a Change Agent.

Hugh: That’s me.

Kathleen: You become somebody who can bring about change. When you draw on that Innovation part of you, you can help them change their perspective on how a piece sounds. As a leader in SynerVision, you can help people understand how to change their behaviors and leadership styles. That’s the beauty of it.

Hugh: God has called me in many of my ministries to be a change agent. The last three churches I served were in crisis when I got there. I used those properties not even knowing about them. I’m thinking about there have been conductors who have been dictators. Toscanini was a terrorist. And George Szell. They got it done. People weren’t happy, but they got this higher level of performance because they were such dictators. That does not work in today’s world. We don’t have happy cultures, especially in the church. There is this assumption of power by the congregation. There is an assumption of power in nonprofits and in business. This assumption of the culture, which then the leader comes in with that mantle, how does a leader function when they’re going into a culture? Like you said in your church that had the turnover, there was an organizational memory, and they were ready for change. I served a church in Alabama that had an eight-year cycle. They sent the preachers out. I saw three in a row with arrows in their back. There was a hatred thing. We come into a situation. How do we embrace what we learned from the Fascinate assessment to become a better and more effective leader?

Kathleen: One of the things to know is that not every pastor has power as their primary advantage. In fact, probably not a lot of them, more of the ones might have Passion as their primary advantage.

Hugh: I agree with that. I think it’s the system that imposes that on them.

Kathleen: If the system is imposing something on us that is not consistent with who we are, then you’re going to have some tensions there because they’re going to be looking for us as a pastor to be a certain way and do certain things that is not within our personality to be able to do that, at least not well. Part of that becomes talking with them, saying, “This is who I am, and these are the gifts that I bring and how I can lead you with these gifts. It won’t be in the same way as Pastor so-and-so before me, but it’s still a type of leadership.” To help them understand there are multiple ways to lead. It doesn’t have to be a top-down power differential.

One of the congregations I served, the previous pastor, in fact it was the one my husband and I served together, had been what’s in Lutheran circles called a Herr Pastora person. I am in charge. You do what I say. I put a rubber stamp on everything. If it doesn’t get my rubber stamp, it ain’t gonna happen. That was Christian. The church board really felt totally disempowered to be able to do anything. We had to teach them how to be the leaders, to tell them, “This is your responsibility. This is your place within the congregation.” It might have been the chair or president of the congregation. It might have been a committee head. “Yes, you can do this. We can talk about it at the council meeting and see if it’s a good idea, but yes, you can bring ideas here. It’s safe to do that. We’re not going to squash it.” So a lot of it is teaching what’s okay and how to be a good leader. But that means knowing it, and your own leadership style, to begin with.

Hugh: There is two highly dysfunctional systems in the church. They don’t own all of it; everyone else has them, too. The search committee and annual assessment. The search committee, well-meaning people who want to get someone with new skills assuming they have the skills and personality traits of the old person. There is a big disconnect. It would seem to me that it might be a good exercise for a committee to look through an instrument like this to identify what they are really looking for, and look at all the other unspoken paradigms of personality and performance.

Kathleen: That would be one way to use this. Another way would be to ask any potential candidate to go through the assessment as well, to see how well that meshes with what they’re looking for and what kinds of paradigms they want in a leader. Not to make somebody wear the same shoes that the previous pastor wore. If I’m the pastor that leaves and some man comes in after me, it wouldn’t be very fair to have him wear high heels, nor would it be fair for me to wear his Oxfords. That’s always been a tension any time there is a pastoral change. But now we have some other tools to help with that kind of transition and help people understand themselves, their congregation, and who they have as their leadership and staff.

Hugh: When I started working in the church, there were no female pastors. That was back in the Dark Ages. My wife is ordained in the Methodist church. I am in favor of clergy of both genders. We bring different gifts. I have seen women pastors want to emulate a male pastor that they grew up with or were modeled or like. This is also allowing us to embrace our own unique skills as men or women in any kind of leadership role. Women have entered into the work force in a lot of areas in bringing a whole different paradigm or skillset so that the big fallacy for me is the equality fallacy, which is the opposite of integrity. It is the equity factor we need to look at. What is equitable, and how do we bring our gifts as a female into the place? it would seem to me, knowing self and knowing the value that we bring, and not having to wear the army boots of the previous person would open not only the eyes of the leader, but the search committee and the primary teams so that from the start, you have a fair chance of succeeding.

Kathleen: I thoroughly agree. It would have helped me so much earlier in my ministry to know these things about myself. Where my gifts are in that and where my gifts aren’t. To be able then to look at ministry through those lenses and to be honest with myself and the search committee or a congregation. I knew early on that being the youth leader in a congregation was not my gift. But I did not know that there were some other things that I can do. I can do them very well. But they also drain my energy.

There is a third component to this assessment, and that is which of the seven is what’s called your Dormant. It’s the one where if you live in that space or you have to use it a lot, it becomes like slogging through quicksand, as Sally Hogshead says. For you, Hugh, it’s the Alert advantage, which is you talked about needing somebody else to go through and edit things for you. If you had to do all that editing all the time-

Hugh: It’s exhausting.

Kathleen: Yes. Because Alert is all about details, and it’s all about finding potential problems or things that could trip things up and trying to safeguard against those.

Hugh: That defines me. I am a problem-solver, and I immediately notice inconsistencies.

Kathleen: There are different ways to be a problem-solver. With the Alert, it’s preventing problems and using details in the process. It’s the details, getting into the details of it. For you, that’s what would be exhausting. Going through the manuscript.

Hugh: The manuscript of music. That is the opposite there. That is what is empowering to prepare for rehearsals. That’s exhaustive. You study for hours before you have the first rehearsal. You are preventing mistakes because you know how to lead the rehearsal. We have this unforgiving structure, but we have to be creative within it. There is this tension of structure and creativity, which I really thrive on. Preparing the detail and manifesting it is the ultimate for me. Preparing the strategy and launching it. I don’t like the maintenance part.

Kathleen: Yeah. If you get really down deep into that Alert part, that becomes exhausting for you. Just to know that, it’s not that you can’t do it; and you do do it. But you pair it with the Innovation part of it, the creativity, and bringing that and preventing the problems so that you can have a good rehearsal, and you can bring forth the beauty of that music that negates any of the detail stuff for you and lifts the whole part of it to a higher level.

Hugh: I want to go back to we are speaking about clergy specifically, but these are universal. I have been a guest conductor for the symphony here, but I have had a term as president of the board. I took a second half of an unfulfilled term for various reasons. But I am building on what the past person did, and I am setting it up so the next person can build on what I have done. It’s been a transparent process. There were some bad days in the past with any organization, but this one especially, and we have put together a pretty strong organization with a robust plan for the future. It’s working quite well. The idea of staying on and working on the plan is not at all exciting to me. Reframing it, resetting it, solving a new problem, and setting a new pathway, that’s where I live. Is that consistent with what you see?

Kathleen: Yeah, that’s consistent with the Innovation part of who you are. Also, the other ones, the fourth one for you is Prestige, which is always looking for excellence, raising the bar, making things better. It’s talking about how can we always build a better mousetrap? For someone in your position, what you were just talking about, how can we do this better next time? Not that it’s not good enough necessarily, but let’s try something more. How can we get this organization going so it’s on a really good footing and can keep going?

Hugh: That’s precisely it. We have to take out the fear of inadequacy. I can’t tell you how many power leaders I work with who feel inadequate. Robert Shaw changed choral music in the world in his lifetime. I lived in Atlanta when he died. I remember someone coming to the pulpit and announcing his death at a church meeting. The obituary in the paper said that he felt inadequate as a leader, as a conductor. And the same preacher, who built this 12,000-member church I was serving, died after I got there, not because I got there, but pretty much he’d worn out his body. He grew it from 2,000 to 12,000. The obituary said the same thing. He felt inadequate. They were driven for excellence from that. There are examples where they have taken this insecurity and used it for good. Many times, that’s not the fact. So many leaders are limited by their insecurity of self. How would this help somebody look at that dynamic and be more confident?

Kathleen: To me, it’s building to know that hey, these are the things I’m really good at. These are good gifts I have. I can use all seven. But this one, and this second one, and maybe a third one are things I can really excel in and be good at. None of us is ever good at everything. To take that myth away from ourselves, feeling like we have to be all things to all people, which there are a lot of clergy who feel that way. To see here are ways in which I can really add value, and good value, and to play up those parts of ourselves. Not to a point of being haughty or inappropriate in any way. They say, this is the gifts that God has given me. Let us rejoice and be glad in that. Let me use these gifts in my ministry with you to the best I can. Let me draw on the rest of you to help with the other parts of this because we are a congregation together. My understanding of ministry is yes, I am the called and ordained pastor if I am leading a congregation, but all of us are ministers and part of the ministry. We all need to be involved in doing things. All of these gifts are there.

Hugh: Absolutely. You are a different model of clergy that goes into business. What I have seen too much of is everyone who left the active ministry to become a consultant. They are teaching the same things they thought they did or ought to have done. It’s like a repeated pattern of downward functioning. What you have done is bring an entirely different paradigm to the conversation, into the skillset.

Can we go over those advantages? Myers Briggs, it’s preferences. [Hugh pulls up a chart that demonstrates the intensity of his advantages]

Kathleen: Those are the seven advantages on the graph there, in no particular order here because not any one of them is better than the other. If we talked about these as different languages that people speak, that is how we listen to these.

Power is the language of confidence.

Trust is the language of stability. People who are very high in Trust, which is a lot of people in the church, they like to keep things stable and the same. We could talk about that as a dynamic with things, especially when you get someone who is high in Innovation and wants to change things. Other people in the congregation are fine with doing the same thing over and over and over and over again. How to work with that. That is another conversation. Trust is the language of stability. People who are high in Trust really do like keeping things pretty stable. Loyalty is another word that can be used for people with Trust.

Prestige is the language of excellence. How can we make this even better? Not from the sense of it’s never good enough, but how can we make it even better?

Passion is the language of relationships. Somebody who is high in Passion goes into a meeting and is asking everybody how are their kids and spouse. Hard to get them to sit down and be quiet because they are always asking about other people.

Mystique is the language of listening. It is the person who will sit in a meeting and you may not even know they are paying attention. But then you ask them something, and they can come out with something that is profound and puts some things together. They listen really carefully.

Innovation is the language of creativity. How can we make this something new or different? Thinking outside the box is a trait of someone who is high in Innovation.

Alert is the language of details. Give me the details. The old Hawaii 5-0, just the facts please. The detective type of person wants to get in there and find out all the details. A researcher type.

Those are the seven advantages. You can combine them in 49 different ways. 42, if you take out the doubled ones. Those are the different ways. I have an e-book I put together on what happens when we double up on each of those alligators, as I call them. In congregations, we sometimes talk about the individuals in the congregation who are always biting at us. It’s oftentimes because they are doubling up on one of those advantages, and how to deal with some of those alligators who can sometimes ruin our days.

Hugh: I have never heard that. But there is a book called Antagonist about the people you can never please in the church. I had a big church in Atlanta. They told me there is always six antagonists, but they moved around a lot, so it seemed like there were a lot more of them. It’s remarkable, Kathleen, how what you just went through piggybacks on what I have been teaching for 32 years, and not even knowing this existed. We could have been siblings. We see the world through some commonality.

Kathleen: Except my archetype is very different from yours. I am the detective. I am Alert and Mystique.

Hugh: I’ll try to behave.

Kathleen: No, you don’t have to do that. But I also have high Innovation in there. That is my third.

Hugh: I am a 10 on Innovation, Passion, and Power. Does someone ever have some that are way up and others that are way down?

Kathleen: Yes. That does happen at times. Yours are more even all throughout. There are people whose primary advantage is at the top of the chart, and their Dormant is quite a ways down. Maybe even 10% further down than that. One of the things we talked about beforehand is it looks like three of them are all even on the bar graph. Power is your primary, and Passion is your secondary. How do we differentiate between those? And Innovation looks to be exactly the same. If somebody looks at the pie chart, all three of those are 16%. But there is a little explanation next to it of commonly asked questions. The assessment has questions that break ties. It breaks it up to a tenth of a percent. Even though it looks like all of them are the same, but one could be 16.4 and another could be 16.1 and another would be 15.8. And all would be rounded to 16%. But there are tie breakers within the questions.

Hugh: I love this. I could talk all day. We have come up to the end of our time. There are so many really good uses for this particular assessment. But this is coming from a different world than psychology. It’s fascinating. Of course, it’s fascinating…

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Kathleen, I have so many neurons firing here. What do you want to leave us with today as a challenge or a thought?

Kathleen: Another possible use of this for clergy is in working with couples. The assessment can be used with people 14 and up. In my view of this, this could be used with teenagers learning about themselves; college students or post-high school age, what I want to do with my life. Who am I supposed to be? Where are my skills to go forward? With couples and families, with congregation boards. It has so many possibilities with it. It can even be used in my understanding to help envision who your congregation is as a corporate group. What is the personality of your congregation in this paradigm? What does that mean about your ministry? Who are you perceived as in the community? What does that mean? Especially now as we think about going forward, how do we reimagine some ministries? What can we do differently? And be creative about that type of thing. People can connect with me on my website, AflameMinistryConsulting.com, and on Facebook at Aflame Ministry Consulting. Those are the two easiest ways to get ahold of me.

Hugh: Kathleen Panning, Reverend Panning, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today.

Kathleen: Thank you, Hugh. Pleasure being here.  


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