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Living Your Strengths Hardcover – Oct. 10 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Albert L. Winseman, D.Min., is a Senior Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup. Since joining Gallup in 2000 to develop Gallup’s faith-based practice area, he has led research into the characteristics of effective congregations. Prior to joining Gallup, Winseman served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church for 15 years.
Curt Liesveld, M.Div., M.A. (1951-2015) served as a Learning and Development Senior Consultant at Gallup. After joining the company in 1999, he led leadership and management seminars for many of Gallup’s clients in the corporate, education, church and government sectors. Prior to joining Gallup, he was a church leader and pastor in the Reformed Church in America for 23 years.
- ASIN : 1595620028
- Publisher : Gallup Press; 2nd ed. edition (Oct. 10 2004)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781595620026
- ISBN-13 : 978-1595620026
- Item weight : 544 g
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 2.79 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #61,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Canada
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I purchased kindle copy and there were no access code given. I have to contact Amazon again. Therefore the hassle of going back and forth have taken much of my precious time. And my problem cannot be solved.
The details inside the book are pretty general, but connecting the bible with strength themes is superb.
The intro itself blew me away...yet, the intro also made me biased in doing the clifton strengthsfinder in trying not to be someone who is in 'weakness prevention' mode
Top reviews from other countries
Living Your Strengths explores the concept of identifying our unique gifts that God has given us and describes how we can apply them effectively for His service. The book explains that when we are doing what we naturally do best, we are more engaged with our church or community.
Gallup conclude from their research, that when people are engaged in their church, they are 10 times more likely to invite someone to participate in their congregations, they are more likely to spend over 2 hours a week helping others, and they are likely to give 3 times as much financially.
The Living Your Strengths book explores this concept, providing several examples where it has made a difference to the lives of individuals and to their church. The latter part of the book explains about each of the 34 themes of talent and includes a code to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment.
A brand new book gives you access to the StrengthsFinder online assessment, which computes your top five “themes” or those natural, born-with-it talents that you productively apply the best. The book then claims that it will reveal to you how you can leverage your innate gifts to build up the church, Christian communities, and faith-based groups. Ultimately, Living Your Strengths does not accomplish what it sets out to do because (1) at its core, it does not draw a clear map of how people with specific gifts can engage their communities in specific, meaningful ways. (2) It fails to make a plausible connection between how the spiritually committed can enrich their faith communities; instead it offers superficial advice on how devoted people may add to groups in general.
Living Your Strengths is not a book that you read cover to cover. Rather, after getting through the introductory material, you will tend to focus only on those talents that apply to you. Chapter 4 has a 1-2 page analysis of each theme that gives you (i) a paragraph long description of your talent (ii) Bible verses that relate to your talent (iii) action items that will help you better understand your talent. Chapter 5 then details about a dozen action items that you can employ in your personal life and your faith community for growth and service. Chapter 5 is where the potential “money is” in that it has the greatest prospects for actionable guidance. What you are left with, however, is “advice” that largely equates to common sense and things that you could easily think of on your own. For example for one of my themes (Futuristic), one suggestion was to talk to other people in my church about the future or read the Bible and pay attention to when it talks about the future (pg. 187).
Moreover, this book feels forced. It seems like a marketer was looking for another segment to sell an additional StrengthsFinder book to, and this was the result. There is no legitimate connection between the themes and work in faith communities other than offering some Bible verses and general advice that is equally applicable in secular vocations. I can’t read God’s mind, but I sincerely doubt, for example, He had the “Intellection” theme in mind when He inspired the writing of Luke 2:46-47 (pg. 117).
What this book does manage to do well is open your eyes to what you should be doing in your faith community: that is, scaling up what you do best and not fussing over your weaknesses (that’s what teams and delegation are for). Again, this is a point more clearly explicated in StrengthFinder 2.0 and Strengths Based Leadership.
In closing, a word of advice to all potential buyers: Unless you have already taken a StrengthsFinder quiz and know your dominant themes, you must buy this book new. A new book comes with an exclusive one-time access code in the back that unlocks an online survey. Your unique survey results will then calculate what your strengths are, so that you can get the most value out of Living Your Strengths, however small that may be.
And John Baillie (1886–1960) shares this wisdom in "A Diary of Private Prayer" (31 morning prayers and 31 evening prayers):
“Leave me not, O gracious Presence, in such hours as I may today devote to the reading of books or of newspapers. Guide my mind to choose the right books and, having chosen them, to read them in the right way. When I read for profit, grant that all I read may lead me nearer to Thyself. When I read for recreation, grant that what I read may not lead away from Thee. Let all my reading so refresh my mind that I may the more eagerly seek after whatsoever things are pure and fair and true.”
So…I encourage clients and colleagues to always keep reading—to keep “refreshing” your mind by reading; to honor God in your reading. Thus here’s a StrengthsFinder niche book that you might have missed, written by the father of the strengths movement and two others:
“Our coauthor, Don Clifton [1924-2003], was always fond of saying that each person can do something better than 10,000 other people. The key is for individuals to discover what that something is, and then do it.”
Winseman and Liesveld add, “Indeed, developing our talents into strengths requires risk. We must step out, try new things, or take a chance by doing something we may fail at—at first. But if we do not take some risks—emotionally, physically, and spiritually—we will never grow. God expects no less from us and from the Church.”
How’s this for a “before and after” testimonial from a church board member?
“After serving almost four years on the church board, I had yet to fully know or understand those with whom I was working. The extent of our personal knowledge about one another went little beyond being asked to ‘share your favorite movie.’
“At the initiation of a new church board chair and a new executive pastor, we underwent strengths coaching, both individual and team. Everyone engaged in the process, and I learned more about my teammates in one evening than in all my previous years on the board. It was the most meaningful and significant times we’ve spent together.”
If you work or volunteer in a faith-based organization, you will deeply appreciate how "Living Your Strengths" integrates the StrengthsFinder assessment with biblical insights. Example: my Top-5 strengths according to the Gallup assessment are: Focus, Responsibility, Significance, Belief, and Maximizer. So Living Your Strengths suggests three Scriptures that relate to the Focus theme:
• Luke 9:51 (“…he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”)
• Philippians 3:12-14 (“…I press on toward the goal…”)
• Hebrews 12:1-2 (“…let us lay aside every weight…”)
Similar to the other StrengthsFinder books, "Living Your Strengths" includes two- and three-page summaries of all 34 talent themes—plus Scriptures for each theme. The book also includes chapters on “The Power of the Right Fit,” “Creating Strengths-Based Congregations,” and “Discovering a Calling.” Each book also includes one unique access code to the Clifton StrengthsFinder online assessment.
If you’re leading a team of staff or volunteers in a faith-based ministry or church—and blindly leading without understanding strengths—you have handcuffed half your brain and half your heart. Delegate your reading today and invite a team member to check this out.