Monday, April 6, 2009

The Learning Leader

Last week I wrote about the importance of mentoring/discipleship. I touched on the command in scripture to do so and the qualifications necessary to accomplish the task. Click here to check out that post. Today I want to share the most important lesson my mentor taught me and what you as a mentor should teach your young Padawan (sorry...didn't mean to go all Obi-Wan on you).

"Give me a fish, I eat for a day. Teach me to fish, I eat for a lifetime." This is the old "proverb" of unknown origin that my mentor used to illustrate the most important thing he would ever teach me-to feed myself. He showed me how essential it is for any Christian to become a life-long student of God's Word. He provided me with both a steady diet of quality books and teaching tapes (it was cassettes then...back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), and with a consistent example of how this "habit of learning" should never, ever end. Ray Owens was and still is always, always reading, learning and growing and it is just such a posture of humility that has qualified him to lead. And I know no other man or woman with as much fruit as he has. This is not because of his "greatness" but because of his great humility and his example of being the "learning leader."

The great leader knows that her primary purpose is to learn, not to teach and that when she does teach, she should teach first and foremost how to learn and how to pass this passion on to others. To be a disciple is to forever be a student and the key characteristic of a student is a posture of humility. Not coincidentally, this posture of humility is also the key characteristic of a great leader. Beware of the "leader" who no longer learns and no longer views themselves as a humble student but rather the wise teacher. Run away, Forrest!! Run!!! To be unteachable makes a person unfit to lead and a danger to all those in his or her path.

When I think of all the people I have ever heard complain about their local church and the fact that they "are just not getting fed", I thank God for the man who mentored me and taught me that it is not the church's job to feed me. It is my responsibility and my great privilege to press into God and know Him for myself. And it is also yours, dear friend. Now go and teach this to someone else and change their life forever.


Eddie Taylor April 8, 2009 at 7:33 PM usual. You are the best!

Cee April 14, 2009 at 12:42 AM  

Such a simple yet profound truth. If only more would know. The responsibility it ours and blame cannot be laid.

Now the challenge of how to teach this to my two dear daughters and hope that the foundations are already being laid by my belief in what you have so aptly described here Beth.