Conferences. Books. Podcasts. All of it is good in my book.
Continuing education is important professionally but it is also life-giving. In the Strengths Finder “Input” is my strongest and “Competition” is in my top 5. Which means I want to kick your butt in Trivial Pursuit.
All that is good until it is someone outside of my pre-determined circle.
Differing theologies, leadership culture, ministry philosophy even personality can land you outside of my circle.
Now I like to think that my circle of leaders, pastors, authors, and influencers is pretty broad, but no matter how highly I think of myself I still exclude people from speaking into my life and ministry.
Then it happened. I’m sitting at a conference and a video comes on with two pastors that sit pretty far outside my boundaries, one interviewing the other. Not sure if the interview was not publicized or I just missed it on the schedule but I wasn’t prepared to ignore and judge like I normally would have.
About two minutes in I realized something: not only could I learn from them, I would be a better leader/pastor/man if I did.
As a Rookie Pastor I (and I assume you) have an inferiority complex. I don’t want to be judged as too young, naive, or inexperienced. So I overcompensate and feign confidence. When all I really do is embrace a narrow minded arrogance.
Instead what if we sought humility not by stepping outside of our circle, but by eliminating them. Personally I think we make too much of the “slippery slope” argument and we too often embrace the fear that comes with it. I’m not talking about heresy. This is about the various shades within orthodox faith, you know the stuff that occupies the echo chamber of online debates.
So here’s what I’m going to do. In a few weeks I’m preaching and instead of limiting my research exclusively to those inside my circle I’m going the other direction and learning from those outside my circle.
What about you? Are you willing to learn without circles?