Ministry Inside.98

Seven-BallThe posts this week have focused on lifelong learning.

(Find the previous posts here and here.)  Far too many people shut down long before they die.  Long ago they quit growing, stretching, and learning. In many instances, they have lost the joy in their lives.

Your life doesn’t have to be like this.

Consider these seven suggestions.

After all, if you are serious about wanting to grow, develop, there are many resources.

1.  Consider listening via podcast to a class from a seminary or college.  Did you know that you listen to the lectures of scholars from around the world?  (Go to iTunes.  Download it if you don’t already have it.  Look for the iTunes Store.  Once you are in the store, look on the dark gray menu bar.  See iTunesU.)

2.  Ask a few respected Christian leaders for the names of significant book they have read or are reading.  Ask for the names of books that have impacted their thinking.  Look for people who have continued to grow and learn.

3.  Ask a Christian leader out for lunch or coffee (your treat of course).  Tell this person in advance that you would enjoy a conversation about how he/she has continued to grow and learn.  I have done this on numerous occasions and have found most people to be very willing to share their wisdom.

4.  Visit with a professor at your former seminary or college.  Ask for suggestions on keeping up in that professor’s particular field.  Also, many professors are very willing to share their bibliographies for the various courses they teach.

5.  Focus on one particular area of interest and then find out everything you can about that area. Who are some of the leading thinkers in this area? What are the seminal books on this subject. What are the key websites or blogs that may pertain to this particular area?

6.  Skim book reviews.  It is not necessary to read every book or finish every book.  Sometimes, it is helpful to just be aware of what is being discussed.

7.  Start a discussion group.  I have done this on a number of occasions.  Perhaps you are preaching a particular text or doing a series on a certain subject.  Ask a small group of people to come together to discuss the subject.  Tell them that you are trying to learn more about this subject and you would appreciate their input.  You might send them several questions in advance.  This process can be very stimulating.


What other practices not mentioned above have you found helpful?


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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jesse

    Something that I’ve been blessed with has been meeting with an older brother every Tuesday morning. He’s been a missionary, preacher, and is still a great counselor. He’s like my spiritual grandpa.

    It’s already been mentioned, but seeking out someone older and wiser is always good. Listen.

  • Jim Martin

    Great point, Jesse! You have a wonderful practice in meeting with this bro each Tuesday. Good for you!

  • Ann Kroeker

    Jim, I love your ideas! I love the iTunesU concept very much, bringing that wealth of knowledge to the world for free.

    • Jim Martin

      Ann, thanks very much for the kind words! Very encouraging.

  • Margaret

    “many professors are very willing to share their bibliographies for the various courses they teach.” –great resource! Wouldn’t have thought!

    • Jim Martin

      Margaret, this has been helpful. I have come encountered a number of profs who genuinely want to be helpful to anyone who is serious about growing and learning. Also, the syllabus and bibliography for classes are often online.