While the NINES is new, the feeling of being drenched by an information fire hydrant is not. As I watch folks tweet and celebrate and whine about this blast of kingdom wisdom, I wanted to share a few thoughts to guide your learning experience. Consider taking a 5 minute intermission to reflect now.
What we are aiming for is not the picture of a child playing and splashing in the hydrant’s water-works. There is no learning there. We are looking for the leaders ability to sip from the hydrant (without loosing your lips!)
Three things can drive your knowledge junkie “drenching” over a learning leaders “drinking”
#1 Omission Paranoia - This problem has come with the cultural phenomenon of hyperchoice. We are constantly provided with so many options and so many evolutions of improvement with products, services, and everyday choices, that we can live overwhelmed and not even recognize it. If you are an opportunistic person like me, the problem can be worse. Eventually, an unsettled spirit creeps its way deep within our soul. The result? We live paranoid that we are going to miss out on one of the options, the “right angle” or the “winning choice.” Attending the NINES is pure hell if you have omission paranoia. Don’t worry about what you will miss. Drink and ingest what is meaningful when you can.
#2 Hidden Jealously - One of my mentors, Howard Hendricks used to say, “You focus on the depth of your relationship with God and let God determine the scope of your ministry.” If you’re like me, there is a little commentator inside your head when you see 70 plus speakers get platformed in a cool venue like the NINES. We wonder what we would say, how they got invited, yada, yada, yada. With these conversations in your head you really can’t drink well.
#3 Photocopied Vision - If you follow me you know that this is my continual burning platform. The longer I look under the hood of ministry teams across the country the less I am surprised by the clarity vacuum. Please know that most leaders are missing some clarity and the more you’re lacking the harder it is to sip from the hydrant. Why? True clarity provides a frame or filter through which to evaluate everything. (I call it a Vision Frame.) Robust clarity actually makes learning more aggressive and meaningful, because you continually cull out or highlight content based on the needs of your vision and strategy. You know when this “personal calling filter” is working when you can skip chapters in a book or hit pause on a NINES presenter without a second’s thought.
What’s the answer to these challenges?
They all push me back to Jesus. Battle omission paranoia by resting in God’s goodness and sovereignty. Repent of hidden jealously. Take time and create margin to refine your ministry vision and understanding of God’s call on your life. A potential action step: In the next few weeks we will be starting Vision co::Labs for this purpose. It’s the polar opposite of the NINES. Instead of spending 8 hours with 100 leaders spend 24 hours of vision coaching with a small group of 8. More info here.