An Individual Growth Plan (IGP) can help. (SEND members complete an IGP each year and assess their progress at the end of the year.) The IGP is a chart focusing on three major areas: spiritual life, self-management, and ministry skills. It lays out what improvements you want to see in each area, specific learning activities to make those improvements, and target dates for completing those activities. It is individual and intentional. You can download your own IGP here.
To develop your IGP, you must start with prayer. The IGP Guide reads, “Listen to what God is saying to you about where He would like you to grow.”
After praying, it’s helpful to take a self-assessment. This assessment is designed for missionaries but would be useful to anyone involved in ministry. It lists 32 potential growth areas and asks you to rank yourself from 1-4 in each area. From the assessment, you pick three priorities, one from each of the main categories. You may not necessarily pick your weakest areas—you may want to focus on building your strengths.
The next step is to choose learning activities for each growth area. Be creative—don’t limit yourself to just taking formal classes. “Think of people you might interview, books you want to read, places you might want to visit, sermons you want to listen to, or mentors/coaches you want ask for help.”
Ken Guenther, the Director of SEND U, offers these basic characteristics of a good IGP:
- Valuable – growth in these areas will clearly help you become who you want to become and do what God has called you to do
- Holistic – growth goals in both personal character and ministry skill areas
- Personal – goals that address your own areas of need and interest; goals for you, not for someone else
- Measurable – you will know when you have reached your goal (when you have completed the learning activity)
- Attainable – realistic goals that you can complete this coming year
- Written down – you won’t forget it
- Accountable – you have shared this plan with someone else who will encourage you to pursue this learning
We hope these tools will help you put together a workable plan for personal growth.