Need to learn

Quite some time ago in a seminar that is pretty much long forgotten the speaker made a statement that stuck….

Adults learn best when they need learning

OK — it isn’t ultra profound, but it has continually cropped up in various contexts throughout my ministry career.  It is true.  Adults (even children I would contend) learn best when they understand there is a need.  When they have a reason for information.

I learned how to change the oil in my car when I came to point of not wanting to pay for it any more.

I learned how to take notes when I realized that scholastic achievement was almost impossible without it.

I learned to drive a car because I saw a great need (dating and girls).

On a deeper level we learn spiritual things when we understand the need.  I had always prayed.  I believed in prayer.  I taught classes on prayer.  Same with leadership and being an elder.  I was an elder.  I trained elders.  A few years ago I REALLY learned about prayer and “eldering”.

An urgent call brought the eldership together in a fairly late evening meeting.  It appeared that the minister had been having an affair with another woman.  There was evidence.  Pretty solid evidence.  Part of the evidence was an eyewitness account from a church member who was a law enforcement officer.  He had noticed the preacher’s car parked in a fairly remote area on a back county road late at night.  He checked it out to make sure the preacher was OK.   Well……

So over the next few weeks the eldership learned a great deal about what it meant to be an elder.  What it meant to pray for wisdom.  What it meant to lead when leading wasn’t popular.  What it mean to do what was right — what God wanted.  Every effort was made to help the preacher and his family get things worked out.  We offered to pay for counseling out of our own pockets.  We tried hard to keep everything confidential.

Those who supported the preacher said we were railroading him out.  Those who didn’t support him thought we were being too soft and failing our duty.  The preacher portrayed us as amateurs with no clue.

I tell you all this to point out that we grew.  We learned to lead.  We learned to pray.  We learned to pray boldly and seeking God’s will above all.  The church at that time was one most “experts” would say was doomed to an existence of forever being small town — 120 in attendance — never doing much.

Within a couple years that church had grown to over 300.  They relocated and built a beautiful million dollar plus building with a loan for only $270, 000 of that price.  That loan was paid in full within 3 years.

My point?   How do you learn spiritually?  Does your church put you into situations that demand you rely on God?  Do you “need” to learn the deeper things of faith?

It doesn’t need to be a crisis.  It can simply be the genuine sharing of faith and being put in the position of caring for some baby Christians.  I learned a great deal about babies in the months after our daughter was born…..

Ask God to put you in a place where you NEED to learn…..

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