Are Relational Proficiencies Necessary?

by Glenn Davis, AMS Heart of Kansas Southern Baptist Association

The Water Tower Analogy

I have talked some in the previous article about the need for relational proficiencies.

We all have quoted the adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Relational proficiencies are the language that allows you to speak love AND truth in a way that is received and understood by others.

Allow me to use a water tower for my analogy. 

Think of three parts to a water tower; the structure, the water, and the downspout.

The structure that supports that water tower is like the Foundational Proficiencies.  This structure includes the legs and the tank itself.  In my analogy this structure reflects the character and calling that are foundational to our role as associational leaders. 

The character and calling in our lives are the structure of the water tower. The tower and the tank are absolutely necessary if you are going to contain water in a useful way.  

If you don’t have this structure, you are not a water tower.  If you have water without the tank, you don’t have a water tower, you have a mud puddle. 

As an associational leader, if you have gifted-ness without character, the result will always be a mess.  The higher the competency the bigger the mess.

Those who have served in the ministry world for years have seen the tragedy of a gifted pastor coming to a church and attracting people.  Yet because of a lack of character in that man’s life, all his gifted-ness did was attract more people who were then hurt when the character failure happened.

The tower and the tank of the water tower are the Foundational Proficiencies which focus on character.

Strategic Proficiencies are the water in the tower.  These are the skills that you have developed as a leader by which you can help others.  These are things like Seeing and Casting Vision, Strategic Thinking, and the Word gifts required to communicate the vision and motivate people.

The water in the tower represents the competencies in our lives.  Many of us have spent years developing the ability to skillfully handle the Word of God, to skillfully communicate the Word, and to think strategically about how to lead in effective ways.
When people see a water tower, they rightly expect there to be water in the tower.  When people hear us profess “calling from God” but find us dry, they see us like the “clouds without rain” spoken of in the book of Jude.

Without these strategic proficiencies, you have a water tower that promises something that it can’t deliver.  People will look to you for help because of your position, but without these competencies, your position will promise more than it can deliver.  Pastors and churches will come to you for wisdom, or for help with vision, and they go away thirsty.

Relational Proficiencies are the downspout, or the conduit through which the water passes

Relational Proficiencies are the pipes that allow the flow of the strategic proficiencies you have developed over the years.  

A water tower with water is of no use if there is no pipe to allow the water to come from the tower to those in need.  Relational Proficiency is the conduit which allows the competencies we have developed to flow into the lives of others.

These Relational Proficiencies are the soft skills used by high level leaders in almost all organizations.
These relational skills involve self-awareness, situational awareness, listening skills, the ability to ask good questions and the practice of giving encouragement to others.  

When Relational Proficiencies are lived out, it often feels like love to those around us.

As associational leaders, many of us have spent a lifetime developing character and competency in ministry.  We hinder our effectiveness by failing to develop relational proficiencies.  Without relational proficiencies your pipe is plugged or broken, and life-giving water is not made available to those in need.

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