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Lifelong Learning: 10 Things I Wish I Knew Earlier in Ministry

Lifelong Learning Tips (cont.)

4. Commit to the long haul.

Am I saying I thought about quitting? I sure did…every Monday for a while. It took time to stop looking at what I was seeing and have a vision of the finish line. Here are some biggies I wish I’d known.

  • Don’t talk about leaving every time you experience pushback.
  • Be willing to put your dreams on the back burner to serve someone else’s dreams. Every dream I ever had came true by being willing to help others fulfill their dreams.
  • Be secure in your calling. If God called you and leads your steps, the things you’re experiencing, good or bad, aren’t a surprise to Him. So trust Him to lead you.
  • Remember that leading is all about serving. When I’m consumed in better ways to serve kids and families—serve those who help you and serve your pastor—it helps me not be the center of attention.
  • Be on the lookout for fear. Any time fear is around, you’re about to head backward instead of forward. Never give into fear. It will always stop you short of the finish line. The two fears I had to face the most were fear of failure and fear of losing my job. You might face different fears. The key is to face them head on and replace fear with faith.
  • Another enemy of finishing strong is trying to do everything overnight. Too much too quick is always trouble. Do things in phases or steps, and live by priorities. Have realistic expectations for yourself, and don’t stop until you hear God say it’s done.

5. Dont participate in power plays!

Don’t try to get your way all the time. There’s no “I” in team. Thinking about the well-being of others always leads you to being a team player. Look for every opportunity to esteem the team. I’ve never enjoyed being around pouters. So I have to examine myself and not pout.

Also, threats have no place in the workplace. Don’t threaten to leave, and don’t ever pull out the “God said card” in a meeting. If God said it, that’s a discussion stopper.

Another key lifelong learning principle: Know when you need to lose a battle to win a war. When I enter a negotiation, I have to know what I’m willing to give up to take new ground. Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and not defend yourself so you don’t appear to be arguing. God is your Defender and gives grace to the humble.

Don’t make someone else look bad to get your way. Blessed is the peacemaker. Any time you have the opportunity to make peace, go for it!

6. Take care of your health!

Exercise, sleep, and good nutrition are essential to you finishing well. Making time for important things will help you at any age. Making time for exercise must be part of your weekly routine, just like meetings and ministry.

From lifelong learning, I know that everyone makes time for what they really want to make time for. I’ve been guilty of working on the wrong temple. Neglecting one to work on the other is not smart. They both deserve our best, and both need a plan of action.