lessons

Yesterday was my birthday! I turned 38 – and I’m still learning and growing, praise God. I’ve written before about the importance of mentoring. As many of you know, I have a number of long distance mentors, but I also meet with three in-person mentors each week. One of them is John Swadley, the Lead Pastor of Forest Park. He is great at molding me into a better leader. John and I are a lot alike in some areas (we’re both crazy passionate about evangelism and seeing people come to know Christ).

We’re different in some ways, too. I tend to make decisions pretty quick. Once I’ve investigated something and asked for feedback, if I have a peace from God and a good feeling in my gut, I pull the trigger. Sometimes I’m right. Sometimes I’m wrong. But one thing I am is decisive and direct.

My mentor, John, has been at this a lot longer (he’s been the Lead Pastor of Forest Park for 17 years). I guess you could say he’s wiser, even though I’m wise for my age. I greatly respect John and have asked him to pour into me as a leader and pastor. I love learning from him.

A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to rush to make an important decision. Now two weeks later, I still know in my gut it’s the right decision and we’ve proven that by jumping through all the proper hoops and channels. However, two weeks ago, it was too soon to make that call. I had not done my due diligence. My mentor, John, sat me down and talked me through how he wanted to make the decision and we agreed his way was best.

Here’s what I learned from my mentor:

You can make the right decision the right way.

You can make the right decision the wrong way.

You can make the wrong decision the right way.

You can make the wrong decision the wrong way.

You see, I was making the right decision the wrong way. I needed to include more people in the decision and do more of my homework on the situation. Now, a couple of weeks later, we’re going to make the right decision the right way.

I’ve said before: Pride keeps many leaders from asking for a mentor. My only trait that I’m proud to talk about is that I’m teachable. I love to learn. I love to grow. I love to be stretched. So, I thought I’d share a lesson with you that I learned recently. Believe me: I’ve got plenty more lessons to share in the future. What are you learning?

Greg Atkinson

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