by Steve Cordle
I am a piano player of many years. I took private lessons from the time I was in 3rd grade through college (my undergrad degree is music). I learned a lot from my teachers, who usually sent me home with instructions like “Work on that section… clean up that part…” But looking back, I realize that while they told me to practice in order to play better, they never told me how to go about this thing called private practice. They seemed happy when I told them I practiced a lot, but I don’t think my time practicing was always strategically used.
It’s not really true that practice makes perfect; instead, practice makes permanent. it’s only effective practice makes perfect.
When it comes to ministry and discipleship, what are your leaders “practicing”?
One way to coaching our leaders toward a new level is to make sure that everytime we talk with them about something they do by themselves (like pray, or lead a meeting) that we also show them how to do it. Otherwise, they will probably continue to do exactly what they are doing. If we are coaching toward a different result (which is much, though not all, of the time) it means adopting a different practice.
Private devotions is a great example. It is great to encourage our leaders to spend time with God – but are we truly teaching them how? Are we showing them how to best utilize that time alone with God? Sure, we need to allow for different personalities and practices, but if we don’t give them specifics and follow up later, they will probably hit a routine plateau and stay there.
A new year is a natural time to adopt new practices. May God bless you richly in 2008!