How To Get Better At What You Do

I wish I read in high school like I do now.  Maybe I would have gotten into a more prestigious school and found myself with larger loans.  In all seriousness I love reading, I love learning, I love listening to podcasts, watching conferences and meeting one on one with people who I admire.  Learning is important, duh no brainer, right?  Well, yes, but then again I’m not sure if we are doing all the learning we’re supposed to be doing.  Could we be neglecting something?
While it’s important to learn from other youth ministers and from theological institutions I think from time to time we need to expand our horizons.  Here are four fields we as youth workers should explore:

  • The Business World: I know there’s push back out there in regards to looking at ministry as a business, but I’m saying get over it.  If you don’t market correctly you won’t draw new people.  If you don’t look at your systems and structures you’ll lose out on efficiency.  Youth ministers should be reading business books, blogs and attending webinars that tell you how to run your organization correctly.
  • The Philosophical: This is an area I need to hit up more and maybe the reason I don’t is because it intimidates me.  But if we can dive into a little Plato, Descarte and Peanuts we can encourage ourselves to think outside the box.  Besides there might be philosophers you disagree with…good then you’ll find your mind challenged.
  • The Anthropological: Big word I know, but what it means is the study of humankind and their cultures.  If we can learn what’s different about other denominations, religions, cultures and so on, we can learn how to communicate across barriers.  Case in point, Paul in Athens.
  • Story: If we fill our heads with too many facts, we become boring.  Too many times than not I hear a sermon or message filled with incredible facts but no passion.  When you can study the art of story telling you can take important information and give it in a way that brings compassion.  To develop that skill, start reading stories (fact and fiction).


I know not everyone is a reader, that’s why I also recommend podcasts, conferences, seminars, lectures, concerts and film (not television).  When we can expand our minds we can learn how to reason, how to defend and how to communicate.  And that’s what we need, we need to communicate, share and create an opportunity for someone to connect with Christ.

What are you learning?  And what other areas should we be exploring?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I’ve personally learned a lot from two other areas: biographies in general and history. I love reading biographies, from US presidents in particular, but also from other leaders. They’re a great source of knowledge and wisdom, if only to learnt how to avoid the same mistakes.
    The second area I love is history (I’ve got a degree in European history, so that may have something to do with it 🙂 It helps you to see the bigger picture, to realize that what you’re doing may just have historical significance. To me history shows time and again how one person, one decision, one act can change the course of history…That’s so inspiring!
    But I do also read a lot in business and fiction. Philosophical stuff I’ve tried, but that’s just not my thing.

  • Rachel,
    History is a great area, for me I tend to lean more towards the literary because I minored in English. The philosophical stuff is something I struggle with as well, but anytime we can test ourselves we can find growth.

  • Chris,
    Yeah I’ve almost forced myself to be a reader the past few years, I was never much of one as a teenager with a strong appetite for video games! I do find that when I’m learning from my reading I tend to be compelled to read more. For some reason reading as a pastime just doesn’t cut it with me.
    Thanks for the great ideas bro!

    Blessings,
    Jeremiah
    http://www.nobusiness.org

  • Yeah some people are built as readers, others aren’t. While I think more people should pick up a book from time to time, I think there are other ways of learning. Thanks for your comments.