Your car’s dashboard is a tremendously helpful tool! A brief glance at the gauges can give you a fairly clear overview of the engine’s operation and vehicle’s health. Whatever your mechanical aptitude, the dashboard provides a more objective level of confidence as you drive. If a yellow or red warning light comes on, you can choose to investigate the potential problem or cover it over with duct tape and ignore it (not recommended).
The concept of a car dashboard can also help Christian leaders. By identifying some key indicators of a Christian leader’s health, a dashboard can be created to provide a simple and fairly objective source of feedback. While not scientific, this kind of dashboard can be a simple way for you to engage in self-evaluation as well as watch for emerging problems.
At Arrow we have identified four dashboard gauges for Christian leaders. Each gauge is illustrated in the life of Jesus and is a core theme throughout Scripture. These four gauges help to form a holistic and integrated picture of the Christian life.
As you read about each gauge, take a few moments to prayerfully reflect on your own life and leadership. Process the questions (which aren’t exhaustive) and give each gauge one of three overall readings: green for generally healthy and growing, yellow as an early warning sign of concern or red for needing more immediate attention.
Gauge #1 – Spiritual
You have been created for an intimate and vibrant spiritual relationship with God. This involves simply “being” – receiving God’s love, nurturing this critical relationship and responding back with love – heart, mind and soul. This spiritual gauge helps you assess how you are doing in cultivating this critical and central area of your life and leadership. Ask yourself:
- Is your worth primarily found in Christ rather than your title or accomplishments?
- Are you living and leading out of an overflow from your relationship with God?
- Are you intentional about growing with God through disciplined spiritual exercise and rhythms?
- Are you depending on and trusting God more than yourself or other things?
Gauge #2 – Character
Godly character is critical for leaders. This gauge helps you reflect on God’s transforming work in your character. It includes holiness (in your thinking and actions) as well as related factors like integrity, emotional stability, self-awareness, resilience, energy level and self-care. For this gauge, ask yourself questions like:
- Are you taking tangible steps to live a life of holiness and obedience to God?
- Is there congruency between your private life and public persona?
- Reflect on the list of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Is your behavior in alignment with these fruit – often, sometimes or not so much?
- Do you have a good reserve of energy to meet daily demands?
Gauge #3 – Relational
Relationships and community were central to the life of Christ. Jesus lived, loved, served and suffered in the context of community. This gauge explores the health of your relationships as well as your relational skillset. Depending on life circumstances, this area includes relationships with your spouse, children, extended family, close friends, neighbors, lost people, church connectivity, etc. Key questions include:
- Review your primary relationships. Are they generally healthy?
- Have you been engaging conflict redemptively?
- Have you recently connected with a good friend(s)?
- Do you have a good system of support in your life?
- Are you prayerfully and intentionally building bridges to not-yet Christians?
Gauge #4 – Service
Whatever your vocation, you have been created for works of service and to contribute to God’s mission. The service gauge explores your “doing” through external activity and competencies related to serving through your work, church, home and community. Reflection questions for this gauge include:
- Do you have a clear sense that you are serving God through your vocation?
- Does your leadership follow Christ’s example of servanthood, sacrifice, surrender and submission?
- Do you feel you are being a good steward of your time, gifts and talent?
- Are others being equipped and mobilized for service and leadership?
I encourage you to review and even journal your dashboard reflections regularly. Incorporate this exercise into your regular Sabbath routine each week, review during a personal retreat or reflect for a few minutes at a coffee shop. This will help you identify trends and notice specific patterns that recur over time.
May the discipline of regularly taking a few moments to reflect on these four gauges bring you greater perspective, more cause for celebration, an early warning system for potential problems and encouragement to keep leaning into God’s transforming grace.