5. Use your lunches and dinners wisely. A lunch meeting is a great time to put into others. I love to brainstorm over a meal with people I enjoy. I use he drive time to set the tone or agenda and the drive back to recap and make sure people understand the assignments or plan of action. A dinner meeting is a great way to connect with new people I want to get to know and learn from. Remember the worst they can say is no. Remember it’s not about the food it’s about learning and brain-picking. I’ve even eaten before I go so I can take advantage of this time for me to learn.
6. Visit other churches. I love to tour churches where ever I go and when I do I
take lots of pictures. There are several churches I’ve visited more than once and
every time I’ve gone I’ve pick up different ideas. I love to visit churches with
multiple locations and see what changes they made when they had a chance
to redo their children’s space. It’s very eye opening to see what others do
firsthand. Get outside your church and take a road trip to visit churches with
creative and unique children’s ministries and see what you can learn.
7. Go to conferences. I love to attend conferences for many more reasons than
just the sessions. I love to hear and see what has worked for others. I like to
take others along with me to expose them to bigger thinking. A picture is worth
a thousand words. When others go to conferences that I did not attend I try to
identify what did they see and learn and learn through them.
8. Network, surround yourself with peers you respect. Identify the ministry models available and find out what they are presently thinking now. Just because you heard them once doesn’t mean you know what they are thinking and saying today. I want to know what any other person who has my position is doing and why. Some time know what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. Always be on the lookout to find others who will discuss with you what they are learning. Seek to understand different thinking than your own.
Be a fly on the wall and listen to others as they discuss and network. A few years ago I had the opportunity to have dinner with Sue Miller and Craig Jutilia. It was a wonderful time of learning and growing for me. As we were discussing our ministries I was so proud of all the other children’s pastors who attend that event that had pulled up a chair and were just listening and learning as well.
9. Study successful people. I’m a huge fan of the TV series The Apprentice. I love to watch others lead and be about to learn from them. I also enjoy reading the life stories about successful business people. Those kinds of books are my favorites. I also love to brainstorm or chat with others who also are fans.
10. Get a leadership coach or hire a consultant to hold you accountable and to make you learn. A view from another perspective can give you a huge advantage. If you interested in coaching be sure and checkout infuse at www.jimwideman.com/infuse.
How can I make all these things a part of my lifestyle? The best way I know is to get out your calendar and plan. Set appointments and then do them. We all keep our appointments once we make them. Develop good learning habits and repeat the same action until it becomes reflexive or second nature. Here are some of the places and situations that where I like to read and listen:
The treadmill and other exercise equipment, right before bedtime is another get time to read a little. I try to keep a book or two in the restroom at home and at work. Planes, drive time and even while I wait when I get my haircut or at the doctor also make great places to learn. I even make appointments with myself to study and grow on a regular basis. Remember study and learning doesn’t have to be all at once, do it a little at a time. Expect those around you to learn. I ask all my staff to include on their weekly report-”What have you done for leadership development
this past week? You can’t expect what you don’t model, so why not make an intentional decision to set the pace and become an example of one who is always learning. It’s up to you to stay fresh and current in your leadership skills and in your thinking. A growing leader is a learner!