Over the years of ministry, I have asked many a potential pastor or staff member, “Are you teachable? I never expected an answer that would reveal whether or not we should or should not hire them. I was actually making a statement that I could come back to one day.
I mean, honestly, who would answer that question, “No . . . I am not teachable”?
Even if the individual wasn’t teachable, they might be oblivious to that condition. Also, most understand that we all think that we are better than we are — Proverbs 16:2, 21:2, 13:5.
Nevertheless, it is an important question if we are going to improve — improve as fathers, husbands, wives, parents, children, employees, friends, and pastors. When we lack “teachability,” we will hit unexpected walls. When we hit those walls, over and over, we will fail to grasp what is happening; what is happening is that we learned little to nothing from the last hit or crash.
We can “want,” and not do what it takes to get the “want” — Proverbs 13:4 — The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing.” He wants, but he is unwilling to do what it takes to have what he wants. Likewise, we can want to improve, but we can be unwilling to admit we need to correct course.
We have become unteachable. We cannot learn the lessons we need to learn if we stay with the comfortable; if we become complacent and/or refuse to hear what the situation is
calling on us to do shouting!
This principle is so obvious post-2020. Listen, some of God’s people aren’t coming back! Some pastors and leaders can keep saying and believing otherwise, but it isn’t happening. Some serious pastoral missteps took place during the past “two years” — maybe long before then. Members and friends have left and are not coming back because of those ministry failures — your pastoral failures. You can either learn from how you
handled mishandled the situation, or you can demonstrate that you lack even a modicum of self-awareness and keep waiting for the great return.
When a ministry drops in attendance by 25 to 50 percent, or a youth group can’t even muster 30 percent of what it used to be in attendance, it is beyond time to get serious about the subject of teachability. There are two biblical words for addressing that need — honesty and humility. It is time to deal honestly about what was and was not done over the past years, and it is time to show some humility of mind.
No, I never expected a reliable answer to that question during an interview. I hoped that one day, when I knew that I would need to have a hard talk about a serious “misstep” and when I might well face some fatal resistance, I could call it up for the good of that ministry member . . . .
Remember when I asked you during the interview whether or not you were teachable, and you said, “Yes, — I believe I am.” You are not seeing this situation clearly, and it is because you are stubbornly refusing to see it with honest eyes. It is clear, but you are not teachable as to what has happened. You lack the humility of mind to face reality. If you do not learn from what is obvious to those around you, you will create your own “glass ceiling.” You will not improve, but will learn to blame other factors and people for your failures.
That principle is true when it comes to
marriage, family, child-rearing, employment, and pastoral leadership!