Does your day-to-day ministry work include a word or phrase to type that used to be a challenge but has now become second nature? Maybe it’s the domain name for your church website that’s easy to say but a pain to type out. Or maybe it’s the password to the account you’re prompted to change every 6 months which grows a character or two each time.
For DCE Jackie Druckhammer, that phrase is the subject line: NOW District Annual Wellness Wheel Self-Assessment Report. Earlier this year that phrase was typed for the 140th time as leaders from across the district continue to utilize a unique resource, the NOW District Wellness Wheel. As one of the original authors of the NOW District Wellness Wheel and the current administrator of the tool, each time a worker completes the online tool they receive an individualized report emailed to them from Jackie with that subject line. It may simply seem like a lot to type, but each word plays a key word and provides a fitting summary of what the tool is all about.
If you were to Google “wellness” or even “wellness wheel” your search would return a myriad of images, web pages, and tools intended for a multitude of contexts. While many contain their own strengths and benefits, it’s a challenge to pick up a tool meant for one organization or profession and apply it to another. For that reason, a small group of DCEs, together with Ministry Leadership Director Dust Kunkel, set out to create a tool by NOW District church workers, for NOW District church workers. As a result, one of its greatest strengths lies in its nature as a tool authored by those who share the same heart for ministry as those it is intended to support.
While any and every effort to improve one’s health is to be celebrated, another key strength of the NOW District Wellness Wheel is that it’s built to be revisited. Ministries, priorities, and capacities all change, so a tool that can adapt to and track those changes is a powerful one in the hands of a reflective leader. Any time the Wellness Wheel is completed by the same individual more than once, they receive (attached to the previously mentioned subject-lengthy email) a comparative report of their results, showing how their goals and current assessment have changed over time. The longer a leader is engaged with the Wellness Wheel process, the more detailed their picture of wellness becomes.
The basic idea behind any wellness wheel tool is the recognition that health in life as a whole requires a balance of health in many individual, inter-related areas. For NOW District leaders, 8 areas were chosen: Spiritual Health, Family Health, Career & Leadership Development, Stress Resilience, Social Involvement (Outside of Vocation), Physical Health, Financial Health, and Coaching and Mentors. That recognition combines with the idea summarized by business leader and author Stephen R. Covey,
“When you have too many top priorities, you effectively have no top priorities.” While each of the 8 areas named above are vitally important, an approach to wellness that helps leaders sustain in ministry must accept that all 8 cannot be equally pursued at all times. The tool therefore requires leaders to determine the level of priority they wish to assign to each category. From there, they review a series of statements related to each and assign chose a value on a sliding scale which they feel reflects their current health in that area. The whole process takes around 10 minutes and results in a personalized tool that shows results not only on a scale of 1-10, but in relation to the level of priority the individual attributes to each category.
Another key characteristic of the NOW District Wellness Wheel is that it’s designed to be a self-assessment. While the District is pleased to make it available to all leaders, it is in no way intended to be nor functions as an assessment by the District of its leaders. Instead, the purpose is to invite individuals into a process of self-reflection and personal goal-setting.
“This is might be my favorite part,” says DCE Jackie, “How often does someone get to combine their love of church work and Microsoft Excel?” As the small group NOW leaders set out to develop a tool that could benefit leaders, Jackie also set out to work out the nuts and bolts process for getting the tool into their hands. The winning result was a combination of the online application Google Forms and an Excel spreadsheet that generates one-time and comparative reports based off a unique email address. With the template created, all that is required to generate each user’s report is a copy and paste of their email, a 30-second check of the formatting, and an export of the pages to .pdf. When leaders receive their .pdf by email they receive a summary of their “raw data” both in a table and visually laid out on a wheel, along with a list of their top and potential areas for goal-setting. They are also encouraged to take action on their report by using it to set goals for the coming year, sharing those goals with a trusted colleague, mentor, or coach, and by engaging in ongoing conversation that encourages and supports them in ministry.
The subject line of those emailed reports has grown to its current length over time, and the team behind the Wellness Wheel believes that the benefit of engaging in a wellness-focused process of self-reflection does also. The NOW District Annual Wellness Wheel Self-Assessment is designed to offer leaders a straightforward, relevant, effective tool to do just that. To date, more than 100 NOW District leaders – including DCEs, pastors, lay leaders, volunteers – have utilized it. If you would like to join in, or if it’s been a while since you’ve done so, the NOW District Wellness Wheel is free to use and can be accessed online here.