A phrase I’ve heard repeatedly through my years as a leader is:

“Leaders are readers”

It’s a good saying, but I don’t think it’s accurate. I have known many good leaders who don’t find reading easy. I prefer to phrase it differently.

LEADERS ARE LEARNERS

There has never been a time when learning is so accessible to anyone anywhere anytime. Reading requires sitting-still time, which I don’t always have. However, there are a multitude of podcasts, audible books, learning institutions and conferences offering formal and informal learning opportunities.

Having a title often lulls us and those who follow us into a false sense of security about our knowledge and wisdom. As a pastor, I can lead a service, prepare a message and preach it, pray for someone and advise people who are seeking a way forward. That’s great, but our ministry must take into account that our world is changing and with it, the society I operate in. Knowing how to lead in 2007 is only partially relevant to leading in 2023 and may be completely different in 2030, because society changes as the world changes.

Leaders are learners.

Sometimes leaders find themselves slowly losing ground in their arena of responsibility and have no idea why. Perhaps it’s because they stopped learning. Resting on the laurels of your wins back in the day leads to an outdated outlook, and old mindsets can only reach so far before they lose impact altogether. Look around you. You can see it in churches everywhere.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
(2 Peter 3:18)

I’ve learned to stop and ask questions of God when things in my ministry don’t stack up the way they used to. Berating those I want to reach because they’re not coming anymore is the surest sign of an old mindset, which leads directly to decline.

Ask the Lord: ‘What am I missing? How do I need to grow and change so I can reach the people you called me to? How can I keep learning so I can continue to influence people for the Kingdom of God?’

Leaders who stop learning stop growing. When we stop growing, so do those we lead. Atrophy is the result and none of us want that. Make the decision to keep learning and changing; that’s how the Body of Christ remains healthy and effective on your watch.