Learning to do ministry is like learning to ski; we can’t do it in a classroom. There may be certain elements that could be described in a classroom, but any self-respecting ski instructor is going to take you out on the slopes first thing. You start at the lowest level on the easiest run and see what you can do. From there, the instructor can see how to challenge you and in what ways so that the challenge is sufficient but not overwhelming. You try it, you assess and reflect on what just happened, then you decide on the next challenge.

It takes skill and discipline as well as knowledge. And even the knowledge piece is learned best if it’s based on an experienced need. That will mean some mistakes along the way, but as the ski instructors say, “If you’re not falling, you’re not learning.” We can’t be afraid to fail; that’s how the learning comes. It comes as we act ourselves into a new way of thinking.