EP 157 – LIFE LONG LEARNING
Well Bootcampers it’s our third birthday! In celebration we’ve decided to grow up a little and add some volunteers to our team! We’re looking to add some content/blog writers who can take our content and turn it into helpful articles for our audience. If that’s you contact us on Facebook, email or voice mail.
In this EP we’re gonna talk about why it is important to always be learning and continuing your education. Life long learning is not an option in our opinion, we should all be seeking to grow and develop throughout our life. Here are some the highlights.
Why should we commit to continuing education?
- Because we are never done learning.
- We should hope to be characterized by 2 Thessalonians 1:3
- We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
- To prevent spiritual atrophy
- “The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. – A.W. Tozer
- We all naturally drift toward leaning on our own understanding
- Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding
Ways to continue your education
- Seminary-Audit classes
- Take Online classes
- Sign up for Learning Cohorts
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp, Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next episode. It is birthday week for the bootcamp. Uh, I believe we are three years old now.
Bob Bickford: Man. That’s incredible. Do, do you think we act like a three year old or do we act like, a little more mature than that?
JimBo Stewart: We’re starting to learn how to walk pretty well and, on our own. And we’re, we’re growing. I think at, at moments we’re probably more mature than a three year old and at moments it’s, it’s probably the appropriate age.
Bob Bickford: And that’s what keeps it fun. We, you know, we wanna provide you some serious content, some things that challenge you stretch, you help you grow. We want you to laugh a little bit along the way and just enjoy listening to us. So, you know, we’re, we’re gonna throw out food recommendations, hot sports opinions, and just let me, speaking of sports, Jimbo, I want to issue my condolences to the Dallas Cowboys.
Their season is officially over. They had one game and they didn’t score a touchdown. They’re the only NFL team that did not score [00:01:00] a touchdown. So The starting quarterback is injured. So I’m calling it. You heard, you heard it right here. The Dallas Cowboys are done for the year.
JimBo Stewart: Done for the year they are a, a losing team. Hey, for the birthday week, I, I wanna invite someone to join a winning team. The replant bootcamp team, guys, listen up. This is your opportunity to officially join. Join the replant bootcamp team team. As we have it three years old, we’ve decided it’s time to learn how to read and write.
And we, we , we wanna add, a blog format to what we provide as we’re thinking about increasing our resourcing. and let me be clear when I say increasing our resourcing, what I’m proposing is an entirely unpaid position. and so we’re looking for volunteer blog writers that would be interested in.
Joining our efforts, taking the content of podcast episodes and reformatting them, as blogs for [00:02:00] different learning styles. Because some people like myself prefer to learn by listening to things. And then some people prefer to learn by reading things, and we want to be able to provide great resources for those that prefer to learn by reading blog.
Bob Bickford: I love that idea. we may give you, we may find an old replant bootcamp hat and send you that as compensation or, maybe Jimbo, you could rust up some good food and, uh, cook it up for, ’em put it in like a, a styrofoam box with dry ice and send it to ’em. They could thought out and.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I mean, look, they can come up whatever they feel like needs to be their, their payment and we’ll figure out a way to,
Bob Bickford: Well, hold, hold on. Their Santa Claus. I mean, you just opened the gate. What if, what if they want something significant, like a new Ford Bronco, like, you know, or
JimBo Stewart: well, then they’re not, they’re not replant bootcamp material.
Bob Bickford: okay. Right. Cause we’re, sourceful generalists are what we are.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So we need you to know how to do, more with almost [00:03:00] nothing. And if you
Bob Bickford: That’s
JimBo Stewart: to do that, you’re not a re planter.
Bob Bickford: that’s first on the list, I think. Right. That’s tell me what you’ve done with
JimBo Stewart: yeah. Exactly. So if that’s you, we would love to hear from you reach out to us, and you can, find our contact information on the website, or you can contact us on social media. And what we’d love is if you send us some links to maybe, or documents of some blog type things you’ve written, so that we can know that you know how to read and write better than a three year old, as we are only three, and we need someone else to help us with that.
Bob Bickford: Love it.
JimBo Stewart: Man, speaking of learning last week, we talked about the way that we can learn the importance of, and the way to learn from people that we don’t necessarily agree with. And I think that is a valuable thing for us to be able to kind of even look outside of our camps and outside of our spheres of influence and echo chambers, and just hear and learn from other perspectives without letting them influence us in [00:04:00] a negative direction.
I wanna continue that conversation about education. I was in a room with some ministry leaders recently and, a guy who is a pastor and a ministry leader and a state convention, is also a licensed therapist. And here’s what he said to me. And I thought, man, we need to talk about this. He said as a licensed therapist, he is required to do 20 hours of continuing education formally every year in order to maintain his license.
And so I started thinking about it and I looked it up here. Here’s a few other vocations that requires. Some formal continuing education in order to stay in that vocation lawyers, teachers, accountants, engineers, pilots, physicians, nurses, psychologists, architects, pharmacists, and there’s so many more. And here’s what, here’s what hit me.
Bob, part of the reason each of those vocations. Require formal, continuing education is [00:05:00]really in order to continue to do that job. Well, you have to continue to grow in your abilities in your knowledge. and for, for some of those, it’s like for literally the safety of others, you need to con you need to stay sharp and know what you’re doing, but we would all agree when it comes to being a pastor, especially I would say of a replant or a revitalization.
Man, we’re dealing with things of eternal significance and kingdom things. And so I, I would say it’s maybe even more important that we have a, a process and a habit of continuing our education.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, I, I agree Jimbo. I, I think actually some denominations do in some conferences that I used to attend way, way back in the. I remember going to a national, the national pastor’s conference in San Diego. And, they had seminars that you could take. And a lot of the, the guys that were at different denominations, they would, they would fill out information and get CPEs, [00:06:00]you know, continuing education credits that, so that sort of thing.
So I think in our denomination, it. It is not mandated and it is certainly, and I think what you’re saying is, and I agree with you, it’s important and you should desire it for the purpose of being effective and continuing to stay sharp in your vocation. Yeah, We’re dealing with people in their lives and their spiritual health and their wellbeing and all those sorts of things.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, it definitely doesn’t need to be mandated, but I think there are, I think mandating it is not a great idea personally, as far as like from a top down type mandating, but I think you should personally mandate it for yourself. And I, a couple reasons, I think one, obviously we’re never done learning.
man, it’s you can’t get to the bottom of scripture and the wisdom that’s in the Bible. I mean, it’s just an, an bottomless ocean of wisdom and, and beauty. And so one we’re just never done learning. We gotta keep doing that two. I would say we should hope to be characterized. I was looking at this and second [00:07:00] Pelon one, three made me think of it.
We ought, we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers as is right. Because your faith is growing abundantly and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. So two things outta that passage that make, I think of one, their faith is growing abundantly. They, they are it’s continuous growth in their faith and I would.
I would say, if you use scripture to interpret scripture, that includes growing in their knowledge of the Lord and of the word is how, part of how their faith is growing continually and abundantly. But then this is so important. The, that we, we not get so puffed up in knowledge, that we forget that this is about loving people and sharing the love of God with others.
So I love that this verse not only talks about that, but it also says and love of every one of you for one another. Is increasing so that we continue not only to grow in our knowledge and in our faith and our skills, but we, [00:08:00] we must maybe even more importantly, continue to grow in our love for one another.
Bob Bickford: I love this. I, think that growth. Is not guaranteed physical growth is guaranteed, right? And we’re, we’re gonna grow physically and we’re gonna grow older. We’re gonna, you know, grow more frail eventually and all those sorts of things. But one things I love is when I meet somebody who has a lot of laps around the calendar, but is just sharp.
And is just of keen mind and insight. And they’re not just wise because they’re chronologically old they’re wise because they’ve sought to, to develop wisdom and grow all throughout their life. And through scripture, through reading widely through observation, you know, through conversations and being challenged.
So I love this idea of, of us being characterized by growing and not just in inform. But growing with information that transforms us and makes us become more like Christ and more valuable to, God’s kingdom, not the Val the value resides in us, I’m saying, [00:09:00] but both the Lord’s doing in us and allows us to move about and be of great use and great help at every season of life that we find
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I’ve met senior adults later in life that are just joyful and life-giving and sharp. And part of, I mean, every time I’ve asked them and they just continue learning, they continue, pouring into their, their spiritual growth and they pursuing spiritual growth. and so it’s man, it’s, it’s amazing to me.
One of the moments I saw this, and I think I’ve mentioned this even before. I remember being at a, an event where a, a guy in his early fifties was giving a lecture on longevity and ministry and a guy in his mid eighties that has planted like 12 churches and coached. Hundreds of pastors was sitting there diligently taking.
On this lecture about longevity in ministry. And I asked him afterwards, I said, I said, well, of anybody that could like, just tune out and skip this lecture on longevity in [00:10:00] ministry. It’s you, I mean, you’re in your mid eighties and you’re still, I mean, rocking it. I mean, you’re killing it. You could retire at this moment and you’ve done it.
You’ve done longevity in ministry and he said, man, I’m always learning. And I’m always. Trying to figure out how to grow as a person and how to grow in a way that I can help others grow more like Christ. And that was really inspirational to me. This guy was still that committed to personal growth that at 85 years old, he didn’t check out of a lecture on longevity and ministry being given by somebody in their fifties.
Bob Bickford: great. Great. I, I’m not, I think there’s something that I’ve experienced. That’s akin to that. I was part of a group of pastors that gathered at a national event. and I was there with, with a group of pastors that were from some, some of the largest churches in the United States and in part. one of them was not only one of the largest, but was one of the most well known and we were each presenting.
And can I just tell you that’s an intimidating. Kind of a experience when you and I was like maybe three months into my role at this particular church that I was a part of. [00:11:00] So I’m in the room presenting to guys that their church is like are 20,000. Right? So here we go. so I present. And then one of the coolest things, the guy who was like the lead guy from that delegation of pastors from that church came up and he goes, Hey, when you said this, I was really intrigued.
And I have a question about this. What are you learning about? Like, he’s asking me and I’ve been three months on the job. I was so impressed. Here’s a guy that could just basically lecture the entire time that we’re there, hold the whole room. And we’d all be like writing notes and going, man, we’re really learning a lot from this guy.
He’s a really great guy. He was asking me about something and asking my perspective and trying to learn from me. And so what that just showed me is man Jimbo. We can learn from anybody regardless of their, their, where they serve the size of church they serve what their experience is. And I think this is really helpful, particularly.
When you are a, around a, a group of men at the association level, or maybe state convention level, you can learn from everybody doesn’t matter what their, what their experience is or, or you’re gonna learn [00:12:00] something. And so I would just say, develop the posture of a learner to be able to, to have a open mind and an open heart to learn from someone regardless of what their background is and what their experience is.
JimBo Stewart: And what their age is. I, I mean, I love the idea of learning from guys younger than you, whatever, you know, you need to, definitely everybody, I think easily goes to, I need to learn from guys older than me, and you definitely need to do that. probably primarily need to do that, but I think you also need to be hearing from, and learning from the perspectives and experiences of.
People younger than you, because they, they bring something else to the table. I think another reason is to prevent spiritual atrophy. As soon as we stop pursuing our own growth, it, we start to atrophy like a muscle unused. I was thinking there’s a Tozer quote that says the stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire.
Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth, acute desire. Must be present [00:13:00] or there will be no manifestation of Christ to his people, man, you, get away from diligently studying God’s word on a regular basis and you will start to lose that desire. You’ll start to lose the holy desire to get deep into his word, to get deep into learning more about who he is, how he’s wired you, how he’s using you, and, even I just, I don’t know.
I see this happen in people and it breaks my heart and it scares me cause I don’t ever wanna do this. I just, I always think, man, I, I could do this. I’ve had seasons where I allowed myself to overbook my schedule. And so I phoned it in, on my quiet time, a few days in a row and I start to feel it pretty quick of the, all of a sudden I’m like, oh, I don’t even wanna do my quiet time this morning.
And I’m like, why do, why do I. Wanna do that. And I, think it’s because I’ve, I have let things atrophy at that point.
Bob Bickford: Yes. I would also not only complacency, I would add this and you alluded to it busyness,[00:14:00] busyness is, A challenge for us particularly, and I I’m thinking of the bivocational pastors or the tri vocational pastors right now, the re planters that are, you know, their world’s on fire. They’re fighting a battle on 55 fronts.
And the last thing they can think about is reading a book or doing some in depth study. Right. And they’re, they’re trying to survive to. Study the scriptures to preach on Sunday, maybe Sunday night, Wednesday night, leave the deacons meeting, you know, whatever. Right. They just feel like man, I’m I’m slammed.
So, what I would suggest is, you know, go back to, when we were talking about the Jordan Rainer stuff and managing your time and all those sorts of things, and then find ways to learn and, take in information. That’s helpful to you. In ways that don’t require you necessarily to, I mean, to just stop down, some guys just are not gonna be able to stop down and read a book, but they could listen to a book, right.
Or they could, they could listen to a YouTube lecture. They could listen to a podcast. They could listen to the, the audio from a conference, those sorts of things. And what I would say is [00:15:00] man, find those cracks in your schedule where you’re doing kind of mindless things like driving and commuting or mowing the yard or.
You know, doing some yard work, stick your headphones in. And instead of listening to, you know, you two or van Haen or journey or Florida, Georgia line, nobody listens to Florida Georgia line anymore, but just threw that out there. man, listen to something that’s gonna feed your soul in your mind, turn on your U version in your Bible and just listen to listen to the scriptures.
Right? Listen to the old Testament and feed your mind, feed your heart, feed your.
JimBo Stewart: Hmm. Yeah. I think one of the reasons we have to do that is we don’t naturally drift towards holiness. We, we, naturally drift, like, there’s just a natural pool towards. being considering ourselves. Self-sufficient I’ll just do this in my own strength. I have encountered more than I. Care to discuss guys that I know and love that have disqualified themselves from ministry.
And [00:16:00] one of the things I do often when that happens is I’ll ask to buy them a cup of coffee or lunch, and I’ll tell them I wanna pray for you. I want you to know that I love you. I’m not judging you. I am for you. not for you in sense of taking sides over. And, and a debate, but I’m for you growing and, being where you need to be and doing what you need to do.
But I also wanna learn from you and one of the consistent things that seems to come up every time, cause I’ll ask, I’ll say I don’t wanna know anything really about the details of the act that disqualified you, but really the, what were the behaviors and patterns that got you here, that you were to do?
Something like that and pretty consistently. They say some version of, I was doing ministry in my own strength in natural gifting. Right. I wasn’t. And so, I mean, so Proverbs tells us, right, that that’s leaning on our own understanding. and so part of why we need to be intentional about continuing our education is we all naturally drift towards leaning on our own [00:17:00] understanding.
Proverb says trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. And that’s one of those that I think we quickly and easily kind of nod our head like yeah, of course. But man. And when it comes down to the nitty gritty of the daily task that you have, and your to-do list is 5,000 things long, and you, you you’re battling on 45 different fronts, like you said, and it really, that’s a hard time to trust in the Lord with all your heart.
It really is at that point. It’s so, so much easier and more comfortable to go. Let me just plug away, get this to-do list done. And then when I get on the other side of this, I’ll get back to pursuing my relationship with the Lord and trusting the Lord, man. You’re never gonna get to the end of that. To do list well enough.
I mean, you’re just not, you’re not gonna get that’s a lie from the pit of hell. You are not, you are not gonna get to the end of that. You’re the devil is gonna use that to constantly bring you to a place that you’d lean on your own understanding. And [00:18:00] so part of the reason we gotta continue our education is because we naturally drift towards leaning on our own understanding and our natural gifting.
Bob Bickford: Yes, there, there is always more to do and there will always be something to, and this is why I think Sabbath is important. Jimbo, like to disconnect you from the routine so that you can have the opportunity to, Pray to reflect, to hear from God, but here’s the challenge for pastors, right? They’re working when other people are Sabbath thing,
so you’ve got a pastor have, have a day off and fight for a day off to do some mindless kinds of things and to, to, you know, rest your body by working your hands, rest your mind by working your hands, all those sorts of things. But you’ve also gotta renew your mind. And, so much of what we were dealing with.
And we, we were in, um, I was with a small group of pastors and we were talking about what we were praying about. And one guy said, I’ve just prayed about people and problems. Like that’s, that’s dominated my prayer life. Like,
yeah, man, that’s exhausting. Right. And you gotta pray about that stuff. And you gotta think about it, but you also [00:19:00] gotta, you gotta refresh your mind and, and refresh your heart by thinking about God, but growing.
And being challenged personally, think about your own life, thinking about your ministry, not just working in it, but getting above it and working on it. So, man, I just wanna encourage some guys if you don’t have a time where you just get away with a notebook and just kind of write and doodle and think about your life and get with the scriptures, man, that that’s so vital and so important.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. So let’s, let’s land a plane with what are some ways, Bob, that guys listening, if they’re thinking, man, I need to get better about continuing my education, continuing my growth. What are some ways that, that they could start thinking through that?
Bob Bickford: Man. I wanna talk about one of the most, some of the most accessible and no cost ones right
now. And so,
JimBo Stewart: All right.
Bob Bickford: good podcasts are accessible and don’t cost you. And there are so many good podcasts. Conversely, there are so many not good podcasts. like not good [00:20:00] there too. Right. But man, get your library sorted out and then get your routine going.
And if you’re a Walker and you walk by yourself like fire, ’em up like load ’em up. If you’re a commuter load, ’em up. Listen. if you’re, uh, working in the yard, loaded up and listen and, and I think cuz cuz guys are busy. Resources are, are meager, man. Just do what you can. That’s a low cost. And here’s the other thing too, is if you have, if you have access to a good library, like at a seminary or a Bible college, or even sometimes a public library will have some good popular, books or historic books that have been written by, credible authors who, who are writing about the spiritual life or leadership, those sorts of things mean, see if you can access those.
Those are no cost. Usually are they very low cost?
JimBo Stewart: I one of the ways that I’ve accessed just a ton of books, that are often very expensive books at the low cost is I pay a monthly fee to have a membership with SCR S C R I B d.com. And man is, there’s a [00:21:00] huge array of eBooks on there. Huge that if you have the membership you have access to on a digital device, and I’m talking like very expensive commentary sets and things like, and commentary sets that you can’t easily get on logouts or things like that.
So like NYCO and some of those, some of those that are really expensive, you can get ’em just with seven, eight bucks a month on script, and I think that’s helpful. So, so I utilize some of those in, in depth Bible study. You can, I. If you’re done with seminary, quote unquote, I mean, you can audit classes.
If you want to get more formal. There are online classes, galore. There’s some free ones that are, are really good. there’s I also want to point to some cohorts, some friends of ours do, mark Haack and Brian Croft in particular. if you’re in South Carolina, then man, you gotta reach out to James Nugent.
In your state convention, they’ve got some really good cohorts there. I know in Virginia, they’re doing some, the state conventions doing some cohorts, but, mark Hallick and Brian Croft and we’ll link [00:22:00] the stuff to their cohorts and the show notes. But man, some of the stuff they have is just gold and we’ve seen guys really grow deep in community and deep in their.
Faith and deep in their skills in education and friendships. I mean, there’s just, there’s a lot of value in doing something like that.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely last one I’d throw in. There are conferences. Now those are little expensive sometimes because you have to travel to location. You have to have, you know, Time away. You have to have conference budget. You have to have a hotel, all those sorts of things, but maybe pick out one conference every other year that you would want to go to.
And for the re planters, what I would say is every year we do the replant summit in August. And we’re gonna have some regional events around, uh, the country with, our role with the north American mission board for, replanting and reviving and refreshing and all those sorts of things. Men find those cuz those are usually pretty inexpensive to, to attend like 35 bucks I think is like our normal charge.
And sometimes there’s hotel [00:23:00] rooms, particularly with the summit, but, man, go to a conference. Sometimes you can worship like the worship at a conference is awesome because you’re not having to worry about, okay, am I next? Or is aunt Sue gonna remember to get up and do the announcements? And did you know what’s gonna happen next?
And did the tech guy get the slides and you know, all this kind of stuff. And so you’re really distracted during worship at. I’ve seen pastors just go to conferences purely because they’re like, man, I can actually like really worship deeply at a conference and be renewed from that. And then they’re, they’re encouraged by the speakers.
So pick out the good conferences, the ones you can go to, if you can’t go to ’em every year, see if you can go to ’em every other year and get, get your, uh, church to help you, get the cost, covered for, for yourself and for your.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, last one I would say is if you can man, get, get you a couple of pastor friends that, are in your area within driving distance and try to once a month get together. Talk to each other, iron sharp and iron, be there with each other. Hey, thanks for tuning in guys. Happy birthday to [00:24:00] the bootcamp at three years old.
If you wanna help us learn how to read and write and turn these wonderful podcast episodes into blog post, reach out to us through our website or on social media and let us know, uh, if you wanna join the replant boot camp team and help us deliver content to people in different learning style.