Might: Spiritual, organizational, personal and positional sources and resources are appropriately used to make decisions and develop people

The Six Pathways to Personhood Awareness and Understanding

Personhood is defined as the state or act of having human characteristics and emotions.

Personhood awareness and understanding involves insights into why one functions and relates as he/she does and how personhood impacts their behavior and relationships. Personhood issues have to do with one’s self-perception, personal identity, character, personality, emotions, fears, insecurities, compulsions, drives, gifts, talents, strengths, weaknesses and relationship with God.

All of these factors affect the relationships, responses and decisions one makes in ministry. Personhood awareness, or self-awareness, is a foundational skill for success. 83 percent of people high in self-awareness are top performers.

One of the great truths of life is that you cannot change what you are unaware of. Unhealthy leaders lack awareness of their feelings, emotional triggers, overreactions, weaknesses and limits, how their past impacts their present and are blind to how others view and experience them.

You can increase your awareness and understanding of personhood issues and develop action plans to improve by exploring the following six pathways.

Pathway One: Family of Origin

The term “Family of Origin” refers to the family that you grew up in – your parents and siblings. It may also include a grandparent, other relative, or divorced parents who lived with you during part of your childhood. These people strongly influence and shape who we become.

Adult awareness will help you not to repeat negative patterns modeled during the formative years. Once you become aware of the patterns of your family of origin, you can change them. Taking the time to explore your family of origin issues will help you become aware and understand how they influence your current behaviors and relationships – for better and for worse.

Resources: Genogram Tools – http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/product/genogram-your-family/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OylOmQtAork


Pathway Two: Temperament and Personality

Temperament refers to the different aspects of behavior like extroversion or introversion, moods, sleep habits, daily rhythms, preferences, etc. Personality is made up of a collection of certain characteristics, traits and patterns that involve actions, feelings, and thoughts.

To a large degree, both are innate and predispose or incline us to interact with our environment in certain ways. These hard wired attitudes and actions work together to influence and inform our self-image. Through a variety of assessments you can learn your dominant inborn patterns and how they influence your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and relationships.

Resources: Personality and Strengths Assessments – https://www.placeministries.org/; http://keirsey.com/4temps/overview_temperaments.asp; http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx


Pathway Three: Life Experiences

Your life experiences have a great deal to do with your values, attitudes, priorities and behaviors. Starting at an early age, your life experiences and encounters begin to mold and shape you.

Evaluating past experiences can help you see why you have certain values, attitudes, priorities and behaviors and how they have impacted your passions, callings, beliefs, education, relationships, and ministry.

Resource: PACE Workbook – http://placeministries.wazala.com/products/pace-workbook/


Pathway Four: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to influence healthy behavior and relationships. It is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of effective leadership. Fully 90 percent of high performers also score high in Emotional Intelligence.

Assessing your Emotional IQ through an Emotional Intelligence Appraisal and developing action plans to improve your Emotional Intelligence skills will help you harness its great power and move from emotional blindness to emotional health.

Resource: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – http://www.talentsmart.com/test/


Pathway Five: Feedback from Trustworthy People

Without feedback from a variety of trustworthy people, such as therapists, spiritual directors, mentors, colleagues, coaches, supervisors, family and friends you cannot fully recognize personhood issues.

Though not all feedback is created equal, seeking the combined perspective of the trusted people where you live, work and play is not optional. It is essential to honestly facing your personhood issues.

Resource: Talent Smart – http://www.talentsmart.com/refined/; http://www.talentsmart.com/products/emotional-intelligence-appraisal-mr.php


Pathway Six: Loving Union and Communion with God

We are called to ministry out of our love for Jesus. Yet, almost immediately the activity of our lives (“doing” for Jesus) begins to eclipse the contemplative dimension of our lives (“being” with Jesus). Soon we are engaged in more activity for God than our being with God can sustain.

Our prioritization of doing for God over being with God is frequently a result of our identity being rooted in what we do rather than who we are. A loving relationship with God that nurtures union and communion will help you anchor your identity in God’s love and to lead more out of who you are than out of what you do.

Resources: SacredStructures.org – https://sacredstructures.org/might/spiritual-health/; https://sacredstructures.org/might/loving-union-and-communion-with-god-assessment/


Facing personhood issues requires courage, hard work and perseverance. Keep these six pathways before you and commit to following through on at least one or two as a first step to personhood awareness and understanding.

Posted on November 17, 2015

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5