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Food for the Soul

Food for the Soul, devotionals to help you in your busy life, written by NEWIM board members and staff. 

Learning and Leadership

Kim Johnson

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

                                                                        —Proverbs 4:7 (NIV)

Leadership is hard work. There is always something to do, whether it is teaching, motivating, creating, influencing or taking care of smaller, administrative details. Not only that, life situations are becoming more complex and challenging every day. Taking the time to improve leadership skill sets may seem unnecessary. Lawyers, teachers, CPAs, general contractors and many other professions are required to take continuing education courses in order to stay up-to-date with the latest laws and/or guidelines. What about those in church ministry? If we are to remain relevant in our role, learning must never stop. So what can women in ministry leadership do to “get wisdom?” Here are a few practical suggestions.

Focus first on God’s Word. At the center of lifelong learning for any Christian is knowing God Himself. The best way to do this is to remain rooted in Christ through the written word of the Bible. It is not merely reading a daily devotional but exploring God’s Word, meditating on and memorizing Scripture.   

Expand Your Resources. We often limit our learning by restricting our resources. God’s Word is always first but a myriad of other sources of substance is available. Personal conversations, for instance, can hold hidden morsels of material to tuck away. Take classes, listen to different speakers or read books. There are countless ways to enlarge your options for new information.

Create a space. Most likely you are not only a woman in leadership, but a wife, mom, grandmother or sibling. Other obligations can make it difficult to find room in an already overflowing life. So it may be a challenge to create little windows of learning time. Perhaps ten minutes with a book before bed would work. Try lingering five or ten minutes more over Scripture in the morning or listening to a podcast in the car. Endeavor to peruse one article a day from an substantive online site. No matter how short the time, use it.

Upgrade your media. While holding a real book in your hands can be comforting, it is less and less practical to keep a large personal library. With the wealth of available media, be open to letting technology care for and keep your papers and books.

Become a learner. Maybe “Learner” is not in your top five from StrengthsFinder (Tom Rath). You can, however, still cultivate an aptitude for learning by always being deliberate, curious and committed to your growth.   

God has called us to our respective roles but our effectiveness is limited when we attend to the needs of everyone else and ignore our own progress. God did not create us to stagnate and it is just as important for Him to do His work in us as well as through us. Learning and leadership is your most powerful partnership.