The well know adage of hiring is to look at what the person has done not what she says she will do in the future. The kernel of truth in this saying is that experience shapes us. We tend to build layer upon layer of experience and then draw on that well when new decisions arise.
However, experience is not always the key. Some of you who know my passion for experiential learning may be surprised to read this statement from me. Experience always needs to be integrated with new learning. And that is where spiritual leaders need to focus, new learning to inform our growing experience.
What will be new for you this year? What is one new thing you want to learn? Or, what is the three new things you need to grow? How will you incorporate them into your pastoral and personal life? And, the new learning need not be only preaching courses or book lists. Take a language? Learn to paint, knit, woodwork? Take those long bike rides and listen to creation? Its your learning, your growing that can be both serious and fun.
A memorable comment about experience from the January 4 PBS Newshour program was “Dealing with sovereign countries with nuclear weapons is completely different from building a golf course in Scotland.” Spiritual Leaders will be setting their own tone for leadership, for how leadership speaks and listens, and for how leadership responds against a cultural backdrop of different expectations of leadership. This year we can make significant differences in the lives of the people we serve through our new learning integrated with experience.