As dad started to drive up the narrow road to reach the summit, I remember thinking, “We’re all going to die!” Mount Washington in New Hampshire is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. As a popular tourist attraction, people are given the opportunity to drive their vehicles 6,300 feet to the top of the mountain. From the base of the rock it looks like the journey is impossible; but I’m happy to tell you that we have the bumper-stick that proudly reads, “This car climbed Mt. Washington!” (Which you get after you successfully come down the mountain.)
In my previous posts, I have been discussing the importance of being the person I call a 3L: a Life-long Learner. A life-long learner, or what some others may call a “self-learner,” is an individual who understands that honouring God with their mind means they always take the opportunity to learn and grow.
By now, I’ve hopefully convinced you of the practical need and Biblical support for this principle. But if you’re like me, wanting to be a life-long learner feels a little bit like standing at the bottom of Mount Washington. It seems like it’s too much because we don’t know where to start. What is interesting about Mount Washington is the fact that cars and truck are able to drive up its rugged landscape.
How can they do this?
Because someone created a road.
And the only way that cars can start the journey is by the gentle incline of the path. If the road were too steep, vehicles would be unable to start the climb. The same is true for life-long learning. Although the desire to be a self-learner may seem huge, it starts with a very simple first step: read.
During high school, I remember enduring all the horrendous splendour of Shakespeare and other equally difficult authors. Those readings were a nuisance because I placed no value in them. But I also remember during university, in the classes that I truly enjoyed, how I would breeze through the textbooks because I found the topic so interesting. An important first step in becoming a life-long learner is to read topics and subjects that interest you.
I’ve gone through my own personal library and picked different books on different subjects that I think are a great first-step for pastors and leaders who desire to be life-long learners.
|Personal Devotions||Made to Matter||Randy Kilgore|
|Becoming a Vessel of God’s Power||Donna Partow|
|Christian Living||The Power of Humility||R.T. Kendall|
|The Holy Spirit||Forgotten God||Francis Chan|
|Youth Ministry||Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches||Rick Chromey & Stephanie Caro|
|Preaching||Preaching: Maybe It Is Rocket Science||James T. Bradford|
|Biblical Studies||How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth||Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart|
|Theology||A Concise New Testament Theology||I. Howard Marshall|
|Pentecostal Doctrine||Bible Doctrine||P.C. Nelson|
|Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective||William Menzies & Stanley Horton|
|Leadership||Relational Leadership||Walter C. Wright|
Along with reading books, another important aspect of life-long learning is reading articles and magazines that engage Christianity and culture. Two magazines that I would recommend (and can be read online) would be Faith Today, Canada’s Christian Magazine (http://www.faithtoday.ca) and Christianity Today,(http://www.christianitytoday.com)
As you can imagine, there is no limit on learning and maturing in your faith. However, being a life-long learner is not only limited to reading, but encompasses listening to podcasts (Shameless plug for Formission), listening to talk-radio, and can even include watching films. Life-long learning is not dependant on what you read, listen to, or watch, but what you take away from that experience.
I never thought that I would be a pastor who would always be quoting books or articles in my sermons, but the fact of the matter is I am. And I wonder, “Andrew, how did you get to a place like that?” It all started with understanding that I didn’t want to limit my potential for God, and instead of being a small goldfish in a bowl, I desire to be like the fish in the pond—learning and growing every single day to bring glory and honour to Jesus.
You can do it too. Will you start the journey today of becoming a life-long learner?