Movement Catalysts’ Self-Awareness – A Factor in Fruitfulness

EMQ » July–September 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 4

Christians worship in an Udmurt house church service, which includes worship, prayer, preaching and the giving of Bibles and literature. Photo courtesy of IMB.

Summary: Healthy self-awareness is a key quality of effective pioneer missionaries such as movement catalysts because cultural awareness relies heavily on healthy self-awareness. Research shows that effective movement catalysts demonstrate mature self-awareness concerning their personal traits and ministry competencies, and are especially aware of their own shortcomings. Thus, self-awareness is an important trait of effective pioneer missionaries and contributes to their ability to catalyze a movement.

By Gene Daniels and Emanuel Prinz

Self-awareness is increasingly recognized as a key leadership quality because a growing body of empirical research associates it with successful leadership.[i] There are likely many reasons for this, but Paul Trapnell and Jennifer Campbell theorized that a leader’s self-awareness not only increases their capacity for personal growth but also exerts a motivational and emotional influence on others.[ii] Consequently, we might describe a self-aware leader as a dynamic, motivational, and influential person.

Such a leader would be a great asset in any Christian endeavor, but our focus is specific to the context of pioneer church-planting ministry. A study by Bethany Research Institute provided the first ever empirical investigation[iii] into the traits and competencies of effective catalysts of Christward movements.[iv] Over 300 pioneer church-planters were surveyed. Respondents rated themselves, on a scale of one to five, on a series of 95 questions which probed certain traits and competencies. In addition, some of the participants invited observer ratings from either a teammate, friend, or family member.

Because the self-reporting can be compared with the observer rating, this aspect of the study allows us to explore the self-awareness of this particular group of respondents. But what do we mean by self-awareness, specifically in the life of a pioneer church-planter?

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