Thursday, September 13, 2007


One of my recent prayers has been this: "Lord, I want to be teachable." Walking into this new situation, it is tempting to assume that you have all the answers and know how things should change.

Getting started as the new pastor at an established church however, I have realized the great need to first absorb things like a sponge. As I observe and learn, reserving judgments helps me to maintain a teachable spirit.

For anyone expecting me to immediately make sweeping changes at First Wesleyan Church, they may have to wait a little while. Instead, I am trying to get to know people. I am becoming a student of culture. I am asking lots of questions.

In conversations I am often floating out bits of philosophy to see how people respond. Some things need to be dealt with immediately, and that's what we've been doing. And we do know the ultimate goal: to become a church after God's heart, actively serving our community and bringing people to Jesus. But to accomplish that goal, our first priority is getting to know each other. And then...TOGETHER...we will figure out exactly how we're going to get where we're going.

In a recent article by Angie Ward, she wrote: "In addition to looking at ministry competence, one of the questions we continue to ask about potential candidates is whether or not they have it—that innate passion to keep learning and growing. It is much easier to fill in gaps in education than gaps in character. Teachability can't be taught.

Teachability is not determined by age, but increased age means an increased chances that bad habits and character traits are more permanently ingrained.

Neither is teachability directly related to giftedness. Again, there may be an inverse relationship: the more talented the leader, the more difficult it will be for her to be teachable because she may have been able to coast on giftedness. Give me a humble, teachable leader any day over the most talented pastor on the planet.

Teachability requires repeated long, hard looks in the mirror. It means constantly evaluating your effectiveness and developing new skills to meet the challenges in your current situation. It requires asking, "Am I the bottleneck here?" and having the courage to make changes if the answer comes back "Yes." It involves looking at your previous track record and recognizing that a history of repeated failures or bad experiences may reflect solely on yourself.

And it requires a commitment to grow in the context of community by letting others speak into your life. The teachable leader creates a culture where others can see the specks in their eyes because their leader is willing to pull the beam out of his own eye first. It is only when we are willing to learn from our mistakes that we will reduce the likelihood of repeating them."
Leader's Insight: It's Not My Fault
Why short-tenure leaders are doomed to repeat their excuses
by Angie Ward