Women in the Local Church: Intentional Learning

Our minds develop rapidly while young, but if you are over 30, there is a slow yet steady decline in the ability to learn new things. The hard truth is that over time, we increasingly have difficulty flexing our minds enough to learn new skills, a new language, or change a long-term attitude. If we aren’t careful, we become creatures who are set in our ways, irritable, and not the best choice for kingdom work. I firmly believe it is most important with aging Christians that we intentionally be lifelong learners. Wisdom is not guaranteed with age. Women in the local church have a purpose in learning that is greater than self-help; we learn individually and collectively so we might contribute to church and community. David Mathis writes “God designed the church to be a community of lifelong learners under the earthly guidance of leaders who are teachers at heart.” Ultimately learning is for the good of God’s people and for the glory of God.

"But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right." - Job 32:8-9 

One of the great dangers to increased learning is the temptation to think we know everything. Learning for the glory of God requires pride to be set aside. An attitude of humility learns with openness. Learning well requires participation followed by application. Application prompts learning outcomes resulting in change. A closed, prideful attitude resists change. Even when the change is beneficial to self and others.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. - Prov. 11:12

I have a philosophy that if you are going to teach, you must also be teachable. I am an intentional learner during seasons I am not teaching. (Of course, the best way to learn biblical truth is in preparation for teaching.) However, lifelong learning encompasses much more than what one learns in a classroom. God himself has given us examples in biblical accounts of those who learned to adapt to new circumstances including: the children of Israel under Moses who learned to adjust to a new life outside Egypt and the captive Israelites who learned to live outside Jerusalem for 70 years. Though they might have been stubborn and learning over a period of time, God gave his people the capacity. For us today, some of life’s most valuable lessons come during times of heartache, failure, and change. With God’s help we rethink the way we do things.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." - Mark 12:30

While exploring online options, I collected a few sources I thought I would share. Check these out. For the most part, these courses can be taken by individuals at their own pace and all but two sources offer quality teaching free of charge. For those offering course credit, there is a fee.

We err if we approach learning as storing up head knowledge. I continue to recommend Piper’s book. Here’s why.

Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper shows us the intricate continuity between the Christian faith and intellectual development. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world around us in thoughtful ways. While we must value the experiential an emotional elements of our faith, the intellectual aspects are far too often neglected and as Piper says in this book, we also need to practice careful thinking about God. Piper contends that “thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God.” So how are we to maintain a healthy balance of mind and heart, thinking and feeling? Piper urges us to think for the glory of God. He demonstrates from Scripture that glorifying God with our minds and hearts is not either-or, but both-and. Thinking carefully about God fuels passion and affections for God. Likewise, Christ-exalting emotion leads to disciplined thinking.

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: