About two years ago my amazing wife encouraged me to look into beginning my next postgraduate degree. I will never forget the words that she said: “Lee when you are taking classes, you are the best version of yourself.” Wow! That is a strong statement, and I was so challenged and blessed to hear it from her. I have a few thoughts about why, and will quickly share these, and then finish with a final thought about how I will invest in my future staff if ever given the opportunity.
I believe that taking college classes makes me the best version of myself because:
1. It forces me into a life that requires great discipline.
When I am taking classes, I do not have time to waste. Every moment is planned and organized because there is so much to accomplish. Between work, family, and schooling responsibilities and demands, discipline and organization are absolutely necessary.
2. It helps me appreciate everything more.
When I am on a diet, and I get in the habit of saying no to things that I love to eat, I create a new level of appreciation for those foods when I finally do get to taste them. Often times, they even seem to taste better than I remember. For example, one Oreo after two months of eating no Oreos tastes so much better than they do when I eat one every day. I don’t necessarily understand the science behind it, but I have experienced it, and the same thing is true with my time while studying. When I have every day open to spend with my family, I fail to use that time well, but when I am working hard on school work and ministry all week long, I find that I value and invest my time with family, in rest, and recreation so much more wisely and effectively.
3. It helps me stay sharpened
When I am taking classes, I am constantly reading new things, learning new things, and talking to new people. Each of these habits keeps a steady flow of new material rushing into my life. Much of it, I will probably forget, but that doesn’t matter. Some things will stick and it is my responsibility to take and apply and use the things that I am learning. During my last course, I studied The Theology, Philosophy, and Methodology of Worship. During this course I was powerfully challenged to add scripture into my worship leading, I was also challenged to remember the necessity of prayer. It was incredible to also see how the Lord aligned my private quiet time in His Word, with the lessons I was learning in my class. I believe that not only have I been encouraged and sharpened by the things that I have learned, but our entire church has benefited from the work that the Lord has done in my life.
That being said: Here is why I felt the need to post today:
Someday, if the Lord gives me the opportunity to lead in a capacity where I am able to make decisions about my staff’s education, I will make it a priority for our organization to invest into the advanced education of my ministerial staff. I believe that this is one of the best investments that a church can make.
Many secular organizations make the investment to pay for their employee’s education because they understand and value the sharpening and the discipline that it will add to the lives of their workers and ultimately to their business. And honestly, many of those same organizations already pay their employees much better than the church pays their staff. I digress, Advanced education for the church staff member is a worthy investment.
If the Lord ever gives me the platform, I want to remember to invest in the education of my staff. There will be accountability and even a standard of required grades and investment in return, but I want every pastoral staff member to have the opportunity to grow and learn in an academic setting. It is so important and so valuable.
Here is the simple summary: I am making a great financial, time, and energy investment in my education, and as a result, my church and ministry are reaping a great benefit from my personal investment. I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to do this and I want to remember to make this investment into others in the future. Advanced education provides an incredible return on investment for the individual and for the church!
Thank you, Katie, for being willing to invest in making me the best version of myself.