Innovative Ministry
Why “Learn With Me” Is So Much Better Than “Learn From Me”
Don’t just teach us what you know, teach us what you’re learning.

We’re all trying to understand the most essential elements of our existence.

Life, love, faith, family, church... and toilet paper rolls (under or over?)

No one has it all figured out.

This is why teachers need to start from an attitude of humility. Especially if we’re not just teaching facts and figures, but the more complex issues of life and faith.

Even (particularly) as followers of Jesus, while we know the one who has all the answers, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we’re not him.

The most effective teachers, preachers and storytellers don’t just tell people what they already know. They share what they’re learning.

The attitude of a great teacher is less “learn from me” and more “learn with me.”

Why “Learn With Me” Is Better

Telling people what we know (“learn from me”) puts a distance between the teller and the hearer. It’s an uneven, imbalanced situation between haves and have-nots.

But if you build on what you know by inviting people into what you’re learning, the gap gets drastically reduced. When we’re all learning, we can relate to the struggle and joy of mutual discovery.

When we’re all learning, we can relate to the struggle and joy of mutual discovery.

Learn from me is static.
Learn with me is dynamic.

Learn from me is a command.
Learn with me is an invitation.

Learn from me is about information.
Learn with me is about relationship.

Learn from me closes down conversation.
Learn with me welcomes questions.

Learn from me is limited and limiting.
Learn with me is unlimited and freeing.

Learn from me is based on the past.
Learn with me is focused on the future.

The Best Teachers

The most compelling teachers, leaders, pastors and mentors don’t take the superior stance that “learn from me” implies. They start with a “learn with me” humility that is disarming, compelling and inviting.

There's a reason James 3:1 cautions us that “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

The best teachers don’t seek position or status. They didn’t strive to be a teacher, they gave in to it. It’s not just what they do, it’s who they are, so they’re trying to carry out that call with as much humility as possible.

Sure, it’s good to train, prepare and learn before opening your mouth and trying to teach others. But the best teachers don’t just teach what they’ve learned, they teach what they’re constantly learning.

Irresistibly Curious

There’s far more to gain from someone who is vulnerable enough to let you watch them learn, fail, then try again than there is from someone who thinks they have it all figured out.

We can get facts from anyone. Actually, we don’t even need a person for facts. There’s an app for that.

But if you want to learn anything about life, faith or relationships, it can only happen from being with someone who is actively learning those things in real time.

Great teachers are irresistibly curious learners.

Great teachers are irresistibly curious learners.

If you want to be a great teacher, bring us along for the ride. As you’re learning it. Before you have it all figured out.

Because you’ll never have it all figured out. Neither will we.

So let’s experience the joy of learning together.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

September 23, 2019 at 10:18 AM

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