I recently asked, Are You Honing Your Craft? The question forces you to narrow your focus and to name your craft.
While there are several things I’d like to be good at, I realize I only have enough time and energy to focus on a very few number of things to develop at any given time. Andy Stanley, in Next Generation Leader (one of the 15 books that have shaped me as a leader, as of a year ago, anyway), says we shouldn’t seek to be well-rounded people but that we should maximize our strengths and focus on our primary gifts.
My current short list of things to hone are prayer, preaching, and leadership. My two primary spiritual gifts are leadership and preaching/teaching (I’ve never said they’re strong gifts, but they’re all I’ve got to work with!). But I remember praying a few years ago while reading Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. As I wrote about earlier, I put prayer at the top of list of areas I’d like to master.
In the area of leadership, I am a lifelong learner. I’ve been a student of leadership almost as long as I’ve been a follower of Jesus. I continue to read and reflect and interact with other leaders to develop the leadership gift.
In the area of preaching, I’ve developed a renewed sense of passion to develop this gift in the last six years, after reading and implementing Communicating for a Change (see one-point preaching and 5 years of one-point preaching). More recently, I’ve been reading, engaging, and implementing what I’ve been learning from Nancy Duarte’s Resonate (see latest post with links to a number of other posts on the book). Last May, I wrote about developing the preaching gift. The next step in honing my craft as a preacher is next months’ free online conference Preach Better Sermons, which I posted here.
Honing your craft requires lots of time, consistency, and persistence. Unfortunately, growth is usually a very slow process. As I’ve heard John Maxwell say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent!” Experience is good, but we’ll only grow if we’re reflecting on our experience, and if we’re committed to shaking things up from time to time.
What areas are you honing?