One of the most critical pieces of personal development is simply to keep developing. Just as we keep developing spiritually, we should continue learning as well. Becoming a lifelong learner means rather than becoming set in what you already know, you intentionally adopt a posture of openness to new ideas and new areas of knowledge.
As Peter Drucker said, “The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.”
When GPS first came out, at the end of the directions an electronic voice would announce “You have arrived.” For a wandering soul, those can be relieving words.
But when it comes to leadership, discipleship—relationship with Christ means transformation by a renewing of your mind. This is a journey that is ongoing until we are in the presence of God.
Stay curious. Keep an open mind and don’t confuse being “rooted in the truth” with assuming you are already right about everything. Humility and pride cannot co-exist, so be open to what God may still want to teach you.
What would you like to learn next?
A set of new leadership skills for ministry? Or a new area of personal interest? Travel? Languages? Relationships?
Ignore the shoulds. What are you actually interested in? You might not know why initially. There may not be an obvious application at the beginning. Steve Jobs famously took a “useless” calligraphy class in college… and then later used it to create a computer font. Listen to the Holy Spirit and trust that he will lead.
As you expand into new areas of learning, don’t take on too much at once. No one can do everything. Instead, take one thing at a time and find a way to explore it. That might mean reading a book, going to a conference, or having some intentional conversations.
5 ways you can poise yourself to engage in lifelong learning
- Adopt a posture of openness.
- Consider what you are interested in learning.
- Listen to the Holy Spirit.
- Don’t take on too much at once.
- Take intentional steps toward learning.
The best teacher is also a learner
A major temptation when you become a leader is that as you become a teacher of others, you stop becoming a learner. No matter how many years of seminary we have completed, or how much Bible reading, or how much ministry experience have have under our belt… we all have more to learn.
We learn through experience, through those who are different from us, through nature, and through trial-and-error. Learning may look like solitary reflection or animated conversation. We learn through our hearts as well as through our minds. Learning is not only academic: it is experiential and spiritual and communal.
Snub out the Pharisee within
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
The Discipleship Difference- Every person is different and we all reflect God in different ways. So why is our typical approach to discipleship the same across the board? The Discipleship Difference lays out an intentional, holistic, and relational approach to discipleship that is individualized to meet each person wherever they are.
The Leadership Difference- Anyone in a position of leadership, whether they’re leading a church, a team, or a small group, needs skills and strategies like these — skills and strategies that result in lightening your own load, developing the skills of others, and getting the job done effectively. Whether you are just beginning your journey or helping develop the future of church leadership, this book is a fantastic resource.
The Church Planting Journey- A fresh look at church planting tools and processes contextualized for today’s realities. The Church Planting Journey is packed with wisdom and simple, practical, reproducible processes that can be translated into any church context. From house churches to mega-churches, let The Church Planting Journey be your guide to fulfilling the unique call God has placed on you to multiply the church.
An Undivided Heart
If you are on a journey to bring back your first love, start with this book…
An undivided heart is not something you can force on yourself or others and this book, An Undivided Heart: Living and Loving like Jesus, isn’t an instruction manual with step-by-step procedures. It is a journey, unique to you, that begins with your unique relationship with Jesus. Living with an undivided heart will naturally lead to living an undivided life. Cultivation of the heart flows into action.