Yesterday I was challenged to do a lot of thinking. To think about things I’ve not considered before, and to think about things I have considered before but from a different perspective.
Yesterday Nate Elarton convened a Pastor’s Leadership Thinking Lab. The purpose was to use Warren Bullock’s book When The Spirit Speaks as a springboard to talk about the vocal gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation in our church services (see 1 Corinthians 12-14). At the outset we all reaffirmed our unwavering commitment to our fellowship’s fundamental truths — those were non-negotiable. The challenge was to think about and discuss the practicalities of the how’s in our services. (You can read some of the real-time quotes from our Lab here — they are tagged with “PLTL.”)
It was a bit intimidating being in the room with such smart people. These are guys with way more education and experience than me… guys who have had the privilege of studying and discussing this topic with some of the greatest Pentecostal thinkers of our generation. I felt a little out of place. In fact, during the lunch break one of my friends commented, “Have you ever felt like that in a roomful of tuxedos you’re the one brown shoe?” My feelings exactly.
But King Solomon wrote, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, New International Version). The iron of my colleagues definitely sharpened me yesterday.
I also like what John Maxwell said, “Some of my best thinking has been done by others.” In other words, these really smart guys have thought about some things in ways I haven’t; they’ve been exposed to some great thinkers that I haven’t; they’ve experienced some things that I haven’t. But spending the day with them was like getting that education they received, having those conversations with great thinkers they had, and experiencing those things they experienced.
Did I agree with every thing that was shared? No.
Was I challenged to think differently? Yes.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The truest test of a first-rate mind is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
If you really want to sharpen your thinking, get around some people smarter than you. Spend time with people who see things differently than you. But most of all, make sure these folks are one in purpose with you. All of the guys in this Lab shared the same passion to see God glorified and people drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus. That’s what made yesterday so rewarding for me.
Do you have some “iron” friends in your life that are sharpening your thinking?