Learn All That You Can
Have you ever gotten to the place where you feel completely over your head? (If not then take some risks!) I would say that “over my head” has been the best way to describe the way I feel in regards to NewSpring for the past seven years.
Keep something in mind…NewSpring is the ONLY church that I have ever served as the senior pastor. People come by and see what God is doing here and say, “I am amazed.” I ALWAYS say the same thing—no one is more amazed by this than me!!!
SO…how does a leader lead in situations like this? It’s very simple—we’ve GOT to be students for the rest of our lives and LEARN all that we can…whatever that takes!!!
As I look back over the past 17 years of my life as a Christ Follower/minister I have noticed a pattern in me…and I am just being honest here…I have always sought to get around other people and places that are successful and seek to learn as much as I can. I understand that when God was passing out wisdom He skipped right over me…and so I have to “get” as much as I can from other people!!!
I will admit that there are times when I have been tempted to back away from “learning” and just focus on leading…but the Holy Spirit will not allow me to do that. Back in November I was struggling with whether or not to attend a conference in December…I was just about to say “no” until God rocked my world with Proverbs 2:1-5 and Proverbs 4:7. Learning takes WORK…and God has been very clear to me that the day I stop growing is the day I HURT the church that I am leading.
Learning costs both money and time…but it is worth every minute and every dime. (Hey—that rhymed!) I have met people who say, “I would never pay that much money for a book or to attend a conference!” My response is always the same, “I can tell!!!”
You know who is an EXCELLENT example of someone who is a freak about learning? Bill Hybels!!! Seriously, that dude has forgotten more about leadership than I will ever know. YET at the A2 conference this year hosted by Willow he went on and on about this new leadership book he was reading, the people he was meeting with and getting mentored by…and on and on. I had this thought, “If ANYONE doesn’t ever need to read another leadership book it’s Bill.” And then I realized that one of THE reasons for Willow’s success is a leader who has a passion for learning.
I understand that I lack wisdom in SO MANY areas…and so in order to do that I have to place myself in environments where I can learn. Saying all of that—here are three things on my radar for the next couple of months that I know will help me out in this area.
#1 - The C3 Conference At Fellowship Church
I remember the first time I attended this conference back in 2002…it ROCKED my world. That conference gave me permission to THINK BIG. It was there that I really understood that God’s vision for the church was WAY bigger than my vision…and I left both changed and challenged.
I will be there this year, along with five other staff members. AND…if you are still considering whether or not you should go or not—GO!!! Believe me…this conference is worth skipping meals for. And the speakers that Ed has brought in this year—DANG!!! Trust me…you will walk away challenged…and your vision will be bigger than it has ever been!!!
#2 - The Churchplanters Conference At Mountain Lake Church
I first met Sean Lovejoy (I love his name…it sounds so happy!!!) several months ago and discovered that this guy is SERIOUS about reaching people for Christ. He told me about this conference that he was putting on…and then he asked me to speak! (Poor guy!)
Yes, I am speaking…but that isn’t the reason I am excited! I’m excited because I always learn in environments like that!!! There is nothing like being in a room with church planters and pastors who have a raw passion to see lives changed…and are determined to make it happen. I LOVE THAT—IT FIRES ME UP!!! And I always walk away learning MORE than I tried to teach!
#3 - The Unleash Conference At NewSpring Church
OK…I am biased…but I really do think this is going to be a great conference. Believe me when I say that we don’t know a lot of the RIGHT things to do…but we definitely know many of the WRONG things. One of the things we will be focusing on during this conference is NOT just telling you about our success, but telling you about the mess ups we have had along the way as well. We figure if we have already made the mistake…there is no need for you to do the same!!!
Leaders—we have GOT to read…got to ask questions…got to attend conferences…because if we STOP then, once again, we jeopardize our church!!! (I was really challenged when I read this the other day…I want to be a leader who asks questions!!!)
Oh yeah, NewSpringers…don’t forget First Wednesday tomorrow night…we will be talking about how to hear God’s voice. Can’t wait!!!