How Leaders Turn Teaching Moments into Learning Moments

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Updated from February 23, 2015 post

Do you recognize leadership learning moments in the midst of teaching moments?

That has been a key focus of mine this week as  the Willow Creek Association’s advanced training for church leaders is taking place. The annual “Partnering to Prevail” week sees more than 160 leaders from around the world gathered at the Willow campus in South Barrington, Illinois, for five days of in-depth coaching, teaching and connecting.

And while these leaders arrive with a distinct learning posture, it is often those of us in WCA leadership who come away with our minds stretched. For many of us, one of the keys to our own development has been in finding learning moments in the midst of teaching moments.

This was never more evident than earlier this year when I spent time in Havana with Reverend Joel Dopico, the President of the Cuba Council of Churches.

And as he described the current changes in Cuba I was busily jotting down leadership nuggets I was picking up from this tremendous leader.

Here are three of my top leadership take-aways from my conversation with Reverend Dopico;

Scott with Reverend Dopico in front of GLS banner

1. “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality”

This classic quote from Max De Pree is being fully lived out by Reverend Dopico, as evidenced by the passion with which he seeks to clarify the spiritual condition of Cuba.

“Sometimes people in other countries think that Jesus Christ is not in Cuba. He never left Cuba,” Reverend Dopico said, with a warm smile. “Jesus Christ is in Cuba. The Cuban church is a powerful church, it is a growing church. And it is a church that was tested, and a church that has a great testimony of the Spirit of God in our lives.”

2.  Be quick to recognize moments of opportunity; and act fast.

The proposed policy changes discussed by President Obama have obvious implications for the church in Cuba. And Reverend Dopico has been quick to respond.

“This is a very important moment for the church in Cuba,” Reverend Dopico began, “It’s a time of opportunities but it is also a time of challenge. And we need to respond to the call of God.

It’s not just about what we want to do, but it’s about what God wants us to do.”

3.  Opportunities come to those who are prepared

For Reverend Dopico, this means that Christian leaders in Cuba must be equipped now, for whatever new opportunities come in the future.

“It is important that the churches be receiving capacity. It is very important that churches receive training, like the Leadership Summit.”

I came away from my conversation brimming with optimism for the future of the church in Cuba.

And I also came away with a strong reminder of the importance of always looking for learning moments even in the midst of teaching moments.


the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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