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Humility and Intellectual Wellness!

Reading time: two minutes. Coach John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”  There is so much wisdom in the body of Christ.  It’s an occupational hazard for pastors and other professional church workers to think that we need to have all the answers about everything. The Church depends on us to know, or to be able to find the answers to, questions about the Bible and about our faith.  That doesn’t mean that ours are the only opinions that matter about everything. I know a wise young pastor who, when asked what he would do when he was in over his head serving a large congregation, replied, “I’ll ask the people for help.” Intellectual wellbeing is being humble enough to value the wisdom, opinions and ideas of others.  At one church I served, I led a Tuesday morning Bible class for 17 years.  Or at least I thought I did.  Most of the time, we studied together the sermon text for the upcoming weekend.  When we began, I thought I’d be helping prepare people for their listening task on Sunday. It turns out they were preparing me for the preaching task.  The wisdom and insights from these mature, wise followers of Jesus very often had a significant influence on the shaping of the sermon over the next few days.  Sometimes, I’d give credit for a particular insight right in the sermon. Often, people from the class would listen to the sermon and say, “Emily said that!,” or “I know where that insight came from!”  That’s good.  We’re in this together.  And what I learned after I knew it all kept my preaching fresh. A few weeks from Easter, this is busy worship planning season.  Have you considered asking for help?  Who in your worshipping community might offer suggestions for enhancements to Holy Week worship?  Are you encouraging the free flow of ideas for sanctuary decorating or lighting, or the use of hymnody and music that could enrich the life of worship? Our worship planning committee was both younger than me and more musically gifted than I was.  It was a practice in humility for me to listen to their insights and follow their lead.  I was blessed by what they taught me.  There are gifts in the people. And let me touch briefly on one other topic where the wisdom and insight of the people can enhance our service in ministry.  We all have relational blind spots.  My accountability partners asked me on a regular basis, “Are you quick to forgive and committed to love in all of your relationships?” Sometimes that question led to wisdom and insight into my blind spots.  “Pastor, did you know that Howard is upset with you?”  Ouch.  Their wisdom and insight into things I was unaware of helped me to mend relationships before they got out of hand.  Not easy.  Humbling.  But important. God has surrounded you with great wisdom.  Be curious.  It’s intellectually healthy. Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee?  Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs.  Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!