One of our favorite quotes among our Pastoral staff is, “Leaders are learners—when you stop learning you stop leading.”

These words have become commonplace in our church culture, but they’ve never been more true. As leaders, we have to be hungry to learn and willing to humble ourselves to someone else’s wisdom and experience.

So what makes somebody “teachable”?

Someone Who Asks Curious, Thoughtful Questions
Somebody who is curious and asks lots of good questions is hungry to learn. They are processing the information that has been provided, and now they’re seeking clarification for an even deeper understanding. They KNOW they need to learn and use the answers to those questions to propel themselves forward. If you want to show someone you’re listening, learning and leading, ask great questions.

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Of the two, this one is easy. Obviously some folks are more inquisitive, and better at asking questions, but almost everybody enjoys learning life lessons and having teachable moments that they initiated!

Someone Who Is Humble Enough To Let Others In
It isn’t easy, but a truly teachable person allows others to speak into their life through exhortation, encouragement, correction, and coaching…even when they aren’t asking for it!

This one…is tough. To be open to correction you didn’t know you needed. To be coached in areas you thought you had already mastered. To be pushed in directions you don’t think you want (or need) to go. To learn from people who don’t know as much as you do. For instance, Josh knows almost nothing compared to me (Kurt…and apparently I didn’t write the “pride” article the other day), but I am shocked at how much I learn from him when I open myself up to his wisdom.
Chances are the older, more experienced, more educated and more “successful” you are, the less teachable you are, too. While this is natural, it doesn’t make sense. In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of ministry leaders simply can’t afford to quit learning.

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What I’ve discovered about so many of my youth ministry friends…and about myself…is that while we’re quick to ask questions and learn stuff we WANT to learn, we’re sometimes a little slower to become truly teachable.

So…what are you learning this week? 


  • Anonymous says:

    I agree it is harder as I become older to submit to a younger person’s wisdom. I love to learn and pursue many different avenues to fulfill this desire. In my daily work of nursing there is a definite divide in the younger generation and the generation I am in. I studied anything I could find on our differences and how to manage my self and promote a cohesive group. My experience has been mostly positive. The old saying of you can catch more bees with honey is true or truth with love. What I did learn is listening and acknowledging is so important to moving the group forward. Learning to use words of truth with kindness and watching my attitude and responses can open up solutions when needed.
    The biggest challenge has come when working with those in ministry. All my efforts to understand these 30 somethings has not helped. It is disheartening. Those who are my brothers in Jesus, a spiritual family seem to be the most resistant to hearing from me. It is heartbreaking and very difficult to understand. And so the spiritual battle’s continue.

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