Leaders Are Always Learners: 3 for 20 Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Leaders sometimes fall into various traps for failure to kill hubris. Remember the fatal flaw of the Greek Tragedies? Pride. The Sacred Text warns that it “goes before the fall.”

Hubris whispers in the ear, if not deep into the heart, “You know enough.” Which in full bloom means, “You know it all.”

Pastors easily fall into the trap. Just ask us. If we do not know it all, we may pretend. We would sure hate to let someone down, most surely ourselves, at the recognition we do not know it all.

Early on I adopted the mantra, “Leaders are always learners.” My corollary contained a caution, “When you stop learning, you stop leading.” The risk is in a future realization that one may need to capitulate, re-evaluate, even re-construct. Letting go of former positions may be a painstaking process. It is far easier to settle on a matter, never to revisit.

Some fear the pastor who changes his or her position on an issue or theological subject. Critics quickly invoke an interpretative aberration of the Sacred Text, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Never learning context and good hermeneutics is also a danger.

Looking ahead, I am sure there will be places along the way that contain differing degrees of discomfort as I continue to learn. Some take the words of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes as an indication to stall our learning, “Much learning earns you much trouble, the more you know the more you hurt.” (MSG)

What trouble? What hurt?

One wonders if a resistance to learning might make of us people who cause trouble and create hurt. These do not seem to comport with the vocation of a pastor. So, for me, I will continue to abide that mantra I adopted many years ago, more than 20 to be sure, “Leaders are always learners.”

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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