2. Listen to teaching. We live in a wonderful time. There are so many teachings available to us from mp3’s, podcasts and CD. A great habit to cause you to learn is to regularly feed on information. I love my iphone because I can keep teachings with me at all times. (For over 17 years now I have been producing audio leadership teachings for children’s ministers through the children’s ministers’ leadership club. I make these available free of charge for leaders under 30 for those over 30 they can be purchased through a low annual membership which allows me to give the teaching away to young leaders. For more information go to http://www.jimwideman.com/the-club.html Another plus about listening to teaching is I find myself re-listening to teachings more than re-reading which seems to help me process and learn the audio information faster.
3. Ask questions. This is my favorite way to learn. Jesus was the master of teaching and encouraging learning by questions. To me a growing faith is a questioning faith. I think fear of asking something dumb keeps us from taking advantage of this priceless method of learning. I believe with all my heart there is no such thing as a dumb question; there are dumb answers but no dumb questions if they are sincere out of a quest to learn.
Any time you are with another leader that you value you should take advantage of the opportunity to learn from them. Prepare questions ahead of time also put them in order of importance so if you only have time for one or two you get what you need. I get excited when someone pulls out a list of questions they want to ask me. I have to admit this is not the norm. Most people don’t view question and answer times as serious as I do. It disappoints me when I conduct a Q & A session and no one prepares a list of questions. Make a phone appointment with people you want to learn from and pick their brain on a subject you need to learn about. Tell what the subject or purpose of the call is when you set it up and always email or fax your questions ahead of time. When you email a question only email one question at a time. Never email more than one question per week.
4. Develop a relationship with people you esteem. Years ago when I started in ministry, finding other children’s pastors was not an easy task. There weren’t many of us out there, when I heard of another I gave them a call. If I read an article that intrigues me I contact them. I still email and call children’s pastors and introduce myself and try to develop a relationship with those I want to know. When I see a hunger in other children’s pastors it gets my attention and causes me to draw close to them. Watch out for relationships that don’t sharpen you. I am so thankful for the friendships I have both new and old that God uses to cause me to keep thinking and growing.