This last week fourteen CRM staff gathered for our annual conference. Yep, that’s it… just fourteen of us working on about six different campuses. Even with a group that small our differences are profound.

We all have different gifts, different temperaments, different passions, and different personalities. These differences are in full display when you’re locked up in a cabin for several days! One of the main differences that I witness in the context of a national staff retreat is the different things that energize us or exhaust us.

I find it helpful to generalize people in one of three different camps. Of course these are not perfect descriptions, but they are helpful. As a leader, I always try to recognize which students and/or pastors are which so that I can lead them in a way that is most energizing to them rather than in the way that is most exhausting to them.

Strategy People

These folks are most energized by planning. They could sit in a meeting for hours so long as the conversation was strategic in nature and things were getting done. They need a dry erase board at meetings. They want the meeting to end with specific goals and specific roles.

Prayer-time is fine, but only after plans have been made, giving them something to pray toward. Relationship-time is fine too, but only after the work has been done. In fact, working together truly feels like relationship-building to these folks.

Prayer People

These folks are most energized by praying together. They could go on for hours and hours simply interceding for each other. They need a Bible and anointing oil at meetings. They want the meeting to end with everyone feeling edified, having heard from the Lord through each other.

Strategy-time is not as meaningful as what God may do through prayer. They want strategy to come out of prayer. Relationship-time is accomplished through prayer.  They feel closer to others through prayer more so than through conversation and playfulness.

Relationship People

These folks are most energized by hanging out together. They could stay up all night playing games, telling jokes, eating, talking and getting to know one another. They need food and activities at their meetings. The more spontaneous the better. They want the meeting to end with laughter and personal conversation, with everyone closer to one another.

Strategy-time is static and impersonal unless the sharing comes from a more personal side. They want people to share their struggles and dreams from the heart, not on a dry erase board. Prayer-time is great, so long as it is filled with personal prayer requests and sharing rather than praying through list on a piece of paper.

Which Are You?

Of course we’re all a mix of these, but I bet you can pick one that is most like you. Anyone who knows me knows I am in the “strategic” camp. What about you?  I’d love for you to comment to let us know.

Neither of the “camps” is right or wrong. They are just different.  

The fun thing about our team is that we are so different. It’s God’s funny way of making our team practice the unity we’re trying to develop on our campuses!

Justin Christopher is the director of Campus Renewal Ministries at the University of Texas and author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.