• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

What got you here …

Several years ago, Marshall Goldsmith wrote a book that was a New York Times bestseller.  The title was simply: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.  The thrust of Goldsmith’s argument was that when people move from one level of responsibility to another, they need to learn a new set of skills. Most people, however, falter under new responsibilities because they try to ‘super-size’  the skills and talents from their previous level or role at the next level. Any new level calls for different abilities and aptitudes, most of which will need to be added to one’s toolkit.what got you here

Flux and change are part of a cross cultural worker’s normal life.  Teammates arrive; teammates move on to another ministry. One role and responsibility gives way to another in the task of discipling and building communities.  Our job descriptions are best described as fluid.

This is why we need to consider the application of Goldsmith’s advice to our lives and ministries; advice which is no different than the apostle Paul when he wrote: “as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:1)  Call it lifelong learning or ‘ongoing adult ed’, all of us should strive to grow more in our character and our competency.  Setting a ‘growth step’ for this year and enlisting the help of another, will help to add a needed new tool to one’s CP toolkit.

However, our work doesn’t stop there.  Now think of the others who are arriving to join in ministry with us. How can we facilitate their development, their ongoing learning?  What are the tools, skills, aptitudes in which we can train them?  Don’t assume that ‘what got them here in missions will get them there where they need to be in church planting’.

All of us are lifelong learners.  Those who have been on the journey a little longer should become facilitators of lifelong learning for those joining in cross cultural work and ministry.

8 Responses

  1. The idea expressed by the phrase “promoted to mediocrity” used to frighten me. The idea is that you take a person who is doing very will in his job and you promote him to a role where he can only be mediocre. Oh if only he had not take that promotion he could have gone on shining. It took me a while to realize that the whole idea was false. The question is not “what is the limit of my ability,” but “what is the limit of what I am willing to learn and adapt to?” We need to look not for people of great ability but for people with a great willingness to learn and adapt. The first, by itself, is destine to end in mediocrity. The second knows no limits.

    • Jerry, I really like your input here. It seems to me that it is the bold humility of the applied Gospel that can make a big difference here. And your point exemplifies why “courageous followership” and “servant leadership” are crucial. Thank-YOU, Jerry, for continuing to learn, grow and adapt!

      • This is where the Framework shows the influence of our guiding principles and organizational culture on how we live and work. The Gospel pushes us towards humility. Humility causes us to be self aware enough to realize we don’t have all the skills, wisdom and abilities we need to carry out His work, and we turn back to Him for His help!

    • That is why it is so important we all be lifelong learners. Always willing to learn new ideas and skills.

  2. Hi – first time “replyer”- I really like these thoughts; helpful to consider what underlies my “R” ; resistance when I am in the space of transition to new roles. As mentioned it takes real courage. Choosing courage over comfort can be tough. I this process I have experienced this reality – it can hit on areas of wounding; brokenness; weakness; and old messages that have gone undetected rattling around in my soul. Facing the undetected lies that I find; that takes real courage.
    Yet; I have found the HS a daily helper and affirmation abounding.
    And yes; we cannot do it without the help of others. Like Ruth, we need our Naomi’s.

    • Thanks Gwen for joining the discussion! Being able to choose courage over comfort comes from sending our roots deeper and deeper in the Gospel.

      • So true. That is the biggest blessing of courage, knowing Him more as we find Him there in our embrace of the challenge.
        Here’s a quote along this topic I read in an article recently by a Navy Seal on building resilient kids…..”To be something we never were, we have to do something we’ve never done.” I like that.

      • So true! There is no question that we are different people as a result of interfacing with another culture and people group.

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