In a previous post, I talked about the importance of being a habitual learner in relation to leading a growing family ministry. It is the most common attribute I see in great leaders. One of the ways I wrote that we can become habitual learners is to build it into our existing schedule. That sounds great, but it's hard to do in practice isn't it? Most of us are so busy keeping up with the week-to-week needs we can't find time to pull back and learn something new.
4 Ways to Grow Without Adding More
Here are some ways I've found you can learn regularly without adding something new.
Listen to podcasts in the car
This is an easy one. Use iTunes, Stitcher or another podcast app on your phone and subscribe to a handful of podcasts. Every week you'll have new content that can help you grow and you learn using your existing time. It might take you multiple trips in the car to get through one podcast, but that's perfectly fine. Here are some podcasts I subscribe to that I would recommend:
- Carey Nieuwhof Leadership
- Andy Stanley Leadership
- Craig Groeschel Leadership
- Youth Ministry Answers
- Catalyst Podcast
You might be interested in the podcast I started for family ministry leaders. Each week I interview a guest who leads in children's, student or family ministry and we learn the principles and practices they use.
Visit another church
I know this one feels like adding more, but the idea is to visit another church and learn from them during a time when you would already be working (at your church). You can learn so much from visiting another church and you can learn it in a very short time. It might be hard to get away, but it's worth it. Hopefully, you can learn some tips to apply to your ministry that will allow you to get it to a more sustainable place.
Read Book Summaries
Reading is one of the best ways to learn and grow as a leader. But, here we're looking for things you can do without adding time to your schedule. Book summaries can help save that time. StudyLeadership.com creates 12-15 page summaries for leadership books and you can subscribe for $7-$10/month. Because the book summaries are so short, you could read them with your team during your regular meeting. Or, you could always have one on your desk for the random few minutes you get here and there that you can't use for anything else.
The GLSnext App is an app from Willow Creek that gives you access to tons of videos from the Global Leadership Summit. Some videos are 2 minutes long, others are 6 minutes, and some are the full teaching session. Like podcasts, you can play these at a time when you're free to listen but have to be focused on something else, like driving or getting ready in the morning. You might even decide to watch one together as a team at your meeting once/month. That would force you to make the other meetings that month even more productive. Not necessarily a bad thing.
I hope these four ideas can be as helpful to you as they have been for me. Like me, I hope you'll find you really enjoy learning and make it a habit. It's no exaggeration that 90% or more of what we do in our family ministry is driven by something I have learned elsewhere.