Ministers, just like all other professionals, are strongly encouraged to keep up to date with professional development and learning plans. This is partly about acknowledging that we are all on a life-long journey of learning, reflecting, and relearning. It’s not just about keeping up to date with latest ‘trends’ but about being open to new ways, to challenges, to different ways of viewing the world and faith. It’s about growing in discipleship and acknowledging that we do not remain static.
I am currently researching intergenerational worship (rather than ministry in general) for a minor thesis due mid 2020. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the thinking and reflection that has already been undertaken by the great theological minds around the world, but also identifying the gaps in that reflection. This is something I undertake on my days off and I will be taking some of my minister’s study leave next year around the time it’s due, but it certainly informs my work here at Manningham.
I have always been curious and was that child who always asked “why”. I was never content with a simple brush off from a teacher. Indeed, my parents were told during one memorable parent-teacher night that I asked “too many questions”. Admittedly I had asked a detailed question about history that day which she couldn’t answer, but I don’t think that was my fault as a curious 8 year old. My dad would take me every Saturday morning to the public library where my appetite for knowledge could be fulfilled – little wonder I became a public information librarian when I left university.
I believe we are all curious and we are definitely all life-long learners. I immediately think of the Explorers Group at our church, and Lorraine’s upcoming Advent study, as well as fabulous community organisations like U3A. So many opportunities to expand our knowledge and so our understanding of the world and each other.
I began a Masters degree in theology when I was working for the Uniting Church as a Family, Youth and Children’s Worker. I realised, as the young people asked me more and more in-depth questions, that I needed to be better educated in order to help them find answers, and I needed more knowledge myself. It wasn’t just about pouring information into people, it was about having the knowledge in order to help them find their own answers. The honest truth is that I will never be done learning as there is simply so much I don’t know!
I wonder how you engage in your own life-long learning adventure? Are you a member of a book club or a study group? Do you meet with friends and toss around ideas over a cuppa? Do you sign up for courses? It may just be in conversation with others where you truly listen to what is being said rather than wait for a break so you can speak! However you learn, whether it’s through an academic pathway or not, always remain open to challenges and differing opinions. It is often in the space of being challenged that we work out who we really are and what we truly believe.
very blessed indeed.