I wrote a leadership blurb recently talking about the concept of sharing knowledge, rather than hoarding it, as a method of building and developing your leadership and influence.
It’s a really important idea and a major ideological shift from boomer-type leadership strategy to egalitarian GenY-friendly model. So, increasingly, in business, church & community leadership this method of sharing knowledge is really one of opening doors and creating opportunity for others to step into the conversation, offering something of their own to the collective whole, even if it’s just presence to the conversation, that shapes and develops their own potential. All this, is influence.
Why do I think this matters? Because historically in the last thirty years, especially in ministry circles, especially in youth ministry circles – we have struggled as a collective faith body, to make spaces and develop healthy dialogue around how and why we do what we do.
So those that have struggled to find a place have moved the conversations they long for, into other, alternate spheres. This brings both great discovery, great adventure.. and sadness. Because the conversations that develop in separate worlds, by their nature, become so easily conflicted, instead of conducive to growth, mutual understanding and broadening of our worlds. As we grow new approaches to leadership – the young and emerging push and struggle for their place. But if they simply choose to separate for the long-haul – then we all suffer. Really, this is no more than stating the obvious in a more minute example of Phyllis Tickle’s theory/observation of ‘rummage sales’.
The best teaching pastors I’ve ever had and still regard, are the ones who led me along with them to their conclusions and thoughts, because sharing the process invites healthy dialogue. Sharing the process enables the asking of questions about the journey, not simply arguing over the destination and conclusion. It teaches me and teaches the teacher. So yes, Steve, I think you are right… that sharing how we think, is an engaging and critical part of this ‘wisdom’. It makes space for doubt, questions, hope, discussion and alternate endings.
Perhaps most importantly for teenagers and young adults – by sharing the ‘how’, we intimate the presence of ‘time’ in our own thinking and learning. And Time, gives permission to breathe, to question, to doubt, to argue and wrestle with for yourself. Time… one of the most beautiful gifts to youth ministry and the thing we run in fear of passing. Time to doubt, time to get it wrong, time to be learning, instead of cataloging what we have learnt.
At the end of the day, where is this most important? Where do we know this so surely from? The desire and quest for wisdom and understanding – that unique process of learning how to engage in Learning?
The endless questions of five year olds. The aching confusion of teenagers. Share what you are learning and how you are learning and un-learning it – because it gives permission to those who long to do the same.
Share wisdom, share your Learning stories – don’t settle for sharing Answers, which ultimately, may not be the answer you need to offer at all.