I’ll be taking my usual Christmas blogging break after today – see you Monday, January 5th!
I was in a conversation recently about what “traps” leaders need to be wary of. Many vital thoughts came up: not guarding your marriage, neglecting your own walk with the Lord, giving in to the approval of man. These areas have the potential to wreck a life, and no list like this would be complete without them.
While it may not quite rise to that stature, one of my contributions to the list was something I fear tempts college ministers more than it tempts many in other fields:
Not continuing to learn throughout your life – including learning your craft.
In a field without a lot of widely known “learning possibilities” – especially outside our own particular organizational circles – it’s so easy to be a college minister that only gets better by experience. While experiential learning is indispensable, it also means we become our own main teachers, filtering our experiences through our own heads and learning whatever comes out the other side. (Of course, God can guide us in all of this – I’m not discounting that. But He still calls us to gain “many counselors” when we want wisdom.)
So our plight in an underdeveloped field of ministry is that we have to make a bigger effort to learn. We have to find books and conferences and people who are worth learning from, outside our own regions or circles. We have to derive principles from books that aren’t actually “for college ministers.” We have to ask questions or let people view our ministries in ways that may require vulnerability. We have to make road trips to view other ministries, spend time talking on the phone after work hours, earnestly ask the Lord for the best avenues in which to learn. And on and on.
But slowly – almost imperceptibly at first – we learn our craft. We get better at it.
If we take the steps to do just that.