In his book “Upside Down Leadership: Rethinking Influence and Success,” pastor and author Taylor Field writes about “the futility of trying to know it all.”
Field describes feeling a “need to think and read more slowly … rather than always finding ways to access more information more quickly and efficiently.”
Do you have that feeling sometimes? I readily admit I do.
Each day, I and other members of our TAB Media editorial team read dozens of emails, text and phone messages, social media posts, and news and feature articles from a variety of sources in an effort to determine what content to share with you.
Some news develops slowly; other stories seem to change minute by minute. Though we strive to provide coverage that is accurate, calm and compassionate, it often feels like there is little time to process each item and its significance when there is so much information coming our way.
And it’s not just news; there’s an infinite number of podcasts, blogs, tweets, posts and memes shaping the worldview and opinions of our readers on a daily basis, and we strive to be aware of those conversations too.
Perhaps that is what Field means when he warns of the danger of being on the “cutting edge of information.”
He writes, “The problem is not in the acquiring of more information. The danger can come when we begin to think that we can necessarily understand things better than others, since we have had more access to sometimes repetitive or trivial information. It can become another kind of subtle pride where we delude ourselves that we know something when we don’t.” Ouch.
Careful use of knowledge
Field’s statement challenged me to consider how I use the knowledge I have. Am I using my knowledge in the spirit of Ephesians 4:29, to build up and benefit others according to their needs? Am I watching my words, as James 1:26 cautions, especially in conversations with and about those in church leadership?
During this Pastor Appreciation Month, we’ve shared a number of suggestions for honoring those God has called to pastoral ministry. I’ll add one more to the list: Prayerfully consider whether what you “know” (or think you know) needs to be shared with your pastor.
In a recent blog post at churchanswers.com, Thom Rainer writes that instantaneous communication means pastors often encounter thoughtless communication.
They often face what Rainer calls emotional whiplash, having “their emotions jerked around a few times a day.”
While pastoral counselors and advisers may be needed to help them deal with the spiritual, emotional and professional fallout of this “harsh reality” that Rainer describes, we as church members have a biblical responsibility to hold our pastors in the “highest regard of love because of their work” and to “live in peace with each other” (1 Thess. 5:13).
It’s easy to make our preferences known to our pastor and others, but it’s not always helpful to do so. Proverbs 17:28 is often quoted as a warning about foolish talk, but the preceding verse is equally helpful: “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered” (Prov. 17:27).