Day 24: We’re Connected to Grow Together – By Teaching Each Other

Point to Ponder: We are all teachers of the faith.
Verse to Remember: “Use his words to teach and counsel each other.” — Colossians 3:16a (NLT)
Question to Consider: What are some lessons God has taught you recently that you can share with your small group?
[Read More] thoughts on Day 24 of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Community, particularly as it relates to becoming a learning organization.

One of things I admire most about Rick Warren is that he appears to be a systems thinker. That is, he is not (merely) focused on individual actions, but in creating self-perpetuating systems that produce positive results. Not only is this true in his idea of ’40 Day Campaigns’ working through churches and small groups, but also in the very content of his lessons.

Whenever I read these devotionals, I don’t so much get a sense of “This is what you have to know in order to be good Christian”, but rather “This is what y’all have to learn how to do in order to fulfill your purpose.” In other words, I feel Rick is deliberately and methodically trying to create a certain kind of culture and environment that is NOT dependent on outside information (e.g., “subscribe to my bible studies forever”) but rather self-sustaining. Ultimately, he wants to create spiritual adults who can stand on their own (as part of communities, to be sure), rather than being dependent on him.

To that end, today’s focus on learning and teaching is so crucial. Clearly this starts with God’s word, but importantly it doesn’t end with it. Moreover, I get the impression that creating a culture of mutual learning and sharing is almost as important as the specific things learned. I’ve often felt that innovation is inversely correlated to barriers to entry, and by having a (healthy) openness to new ideas we enable faster growth. Balancing submission to authority with peer leadership can be quite a challenge, which may be why he first stressed issues of commitment and accountability before opening this can of worms.

Perhaps because of my academic (or family) background, I’ve always accepted my obligation to teach, and cognizant of the hard work involved. I suspect I haven’t been quite as committed to learning from other people. But — if God has placed them in my life for a reason — it would be wasteful for me not to invest the time and energy to realize that.

Prayer: God, I pray for our small group. Help us to grow into a community that listens, learns, teaches, and encourages one another. We have so much to learn, and so much more to receive from you than we even realize. Teach us how to value the contribution both we and others make, that we may experience the fullness of your joy — together! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.