SIDEBAR: Growing Intellectually
by Byron Klaus
Growing edges intellectually do not happen automatically. We need to be intentional about stimulating our intellect in a way that will serve our existing interests, but challenge areas of our lives where we need to move out of comfort zones. Because of the capability to have access to the volume of information available today you need discernment to access what truly will help you grow. Pursuing the novel may be fun, but not the best use of your limited time.
Serve existing interests by not only reading/accessing resources recommended to you by colleagues, but doing some exploring yourself. Do more than Google a topic. Access Web sites of publishing companies from whom you usually do not buy books. Read in-depth reviews of books, not just customer reviews. These reviews are available at www.booksandculture.com.
If you read leadership literature, include sturdy biographies of great historic leaders. Have you read the stories of great missionary leaders like J. Hudson Taylor, William Carey, David Brainerd, The Cambridge Seven, or D.L. Moody? How about great American leaders like George Washington, John Adams? But move beyond Christian leaders to great living world leaders like South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew. Gaining historic understanding of leaders through the ages helps you understand that you are not the first to face incredible challenges.
Move out of comfort zones. Read biblical literature from faith traditions that are not necessarily affirming of Pentecostal perspective. The varied perspectives that influence church attendees today are quite broad. Awareness of varying opinions on key issues like biblical authority, Atonement, Spirit baptism are important so your communication can be more informed and specifically address different vantage points.
Consider church leadership and ministry information that comes from sources you may not access on a regular basis. While you may have doctrinal differences with these sources, you may be surprised at the insights you obtain. Several of the best-researched ministry Web sites include www.faithandleadership.com and www.pulpitandpew.org.
Can you systematically and reasonably present (to anyone who might ask) an overview of where you stand on such controversial issues as same-sex marriage, domestic violence, the Bible’s authority, and the exclusive claims of salvation through Christ alone?
BYRON KLAUS, D.Min.