My wife Lindsay graduated today from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary with her masters in counseling. She will be finishing with a 3.6 GPA and she received the highest counseling comprehensive examination score in school history, despite having worked the entire time she was in school. Yes, I’m bragging, but she’s earned it! Since she’s on the verge of new career opportunities, I’ve been thinking about what it means to receive a promotion.
One of the graduation events that we attended this week was a special banquet honoring graduates. They also gave Dr. Stephen Tourville the honor of alumnus of the year. We use different terminology, but his position is comparable to a bishop in the Catholic church–he is the regional leader for all of the Assemblies of God churches in Pennsylvania and Delaware. During his career he has gone from pastoring small churches to being involved in regional and national leadership.
While it would be easy for someone in Tourville’s position to become arrogant, his acceptance speech for alumnus of the year demonstrated amazing humility. One thing he said really stood out to me was about promotions:
When you’re where God wants you to be, there are no promotions, only lateral moves. No position you can have is more important than the one God has placed you in.
I’m going to take this statement one step further: if you’re not where God has intended you to be, then you are eligible for this promotion. Now, figuring out where God wants you to be is between you and God, but here are some ideas:
Promotion Path Step 1: Know Who God Made You To Be
There is a growing trend to know your Strengths Finders abilities or to know your personality type, but this actually isn’t a new concept. There are actually numerous passages in the New Testament about gifts:
Since God created us, it seems logical to me to believe that the gifts we are born with are given to us by God. In order to even more fully become the people we were created to be, we should understand our gifts and abilities and try to grow in them. This starts by taking personality tests, spiritual gifts tests, and strengths tests. Once we have an understanding about what our core competencies are, then we can begin to develop these abilities.
Promotion Path Step 2: Develop Your Abilities
When you understand who God has made you to be, it’s time to develop those unique abilities. How you do this varies a lot on how you learn best. I personally prefer classroom settings and practical experience, but your development might include personal research, mentorship, internship, or anything else.
I think it’s best to start general, then continually get more specific. For example, if you think you have a natural ability towards math, you should learn how to add before you start getting into advanced physics, accounting, or statistics.
Promotion Path Step 3: Pray
This part is kind of obvious, but if you want to be in the place where God wants you, then you should probably ask him where he wants you! Ask him to guide you and direct you. This step is the simplest step, but not the easiest. It will involve patience and perseverance. Once you are where God wants you, then you have received your promotion.