I recently read a blog post by a good friend who closed his piece with a section on something we at h.e.a.r.t. value greatly, lifelong learning. My friend James Love is committed to learning, growing, becoming more like Christ, and encouraging others to do the same. It is one of the many reasons I regularly read his writing. I don’t always agree with his perspective, I don’t ALWAYS agree with anyone’s perspective, but I thoroughly respect and admire James’ commitment to being a lifelong learner. In his most recent blog he writes,

“…we need to be ‘lifelong learners.’ We need to be humble enough to allow firmly entrenched beliefs to be challenged. Because sometimes those firmly entrenched beliefs are actually shaky pillars that are more about covering some fear or inadequacy than building a firm foundation.”

Like James, we at h.e.a.r.t. realize that we haven’t figured everything out. We teach principles of community development, sustainability, cross-cultural communication and intercultural competence/sensitivity, practical skills in agriculture, animal husbandry, appropriate technology and food technology, primary health, and a host of other principles and skills. All of those teachable points, however, are tempered by the central ethos of approaching any development ministry, and indeed life in general, as a learner. We value things like excellence, competence, ingenuity, innovation, humility, etc. We don’t always hit our mark, but that doesn’t diminish our core values. We unapologetically stand for Jesus Christ, but will always listen to those who may disagree with us.

One of the most powerful messages a cross-cultural worker can send is that of a humble servant willing to learn and to grow alongside those he serves. While we may actually be certified experts in something, we always have something to learn, particularly from people in other cultures with differing cultural values and perspective. We have something to offer the world in the skills we learn at h.e.a.r.t., and more importantly in the message of Jesus Christ, but that offering must be made in humility and respect. I know I don’t know it all. I know I have much to learn. I hope I will always maintain the attitude and perspective of a humble servant willing to learn and grow and share.

Are you a learner?

Post by Dr. Mike Webb