Friday, July 20, 2007

Learning Curve

As I begin work at Trinity, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about the ministry that lies before us. In the fastest growing county of Wisconsin, planted in two locations, with a strong historic tie to the Hudson community, we are poised to have a powerful effect on the St. Croix River Valley, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Together, we have so much to give our Lord, in faithful service. Right now, I’m climbing a great big “learning curve” which is O.K. with me since I do enjoy the process of learning new things. The “learning curve” refers to a relationship between the duration of learning or experience and the resulting progress. Initially introduced in the discipline of cognitive psychology, over time the term acquired a broader interpretation, and the expressions "experience curve", improvement curve", "cost improvement curve", "progress curve"/"progress function", "startup curve", "efficiency curve" etc., may be used interchangeably, depending on the context. Some of these terms may also have other meanings. Another specific context of the term "learning curve" is acquiring a new skill, e.g., an experience in usage of new tools.
The learning curve has been described with other words too. When we hear of a “steep” learning curve, it implies the need for a strong effort to climb quickly to the place of high efficiency. A “short” learning curve implies one that will not last long or is relatively easy. The implication of a “flat” learning curve is that there is nothing new to learn to be more effective.
How would I describe my current learning curve? I guess I could say that it looks enormous, sometimes. It is at the same time energizing and exhausting. I am eager to learn it quickly yet see that it will never cease to be a challenge for a pastor in today’s culture. I’m happy to say that I can’t describe it as “lonely” because the staff and members of Trinity are walking with me through the newness of this ministry in my first couple of weeks.
What do you need to know? Since I am learning, (and may be doing so for quite a while,) please understand that it will take a while to learn names and faces. Just today, I met five members out and about in the community. They knew who I was but this was the first time I met them. Please feel free to introduce yourself to me for the next couple of years, even if you think I know your name and face. I will do my best to learn quickly. I’m also learning the “system”, how things work around here and what I need to know about all sorts of processes. I’m learning about the ministry teams (and there are many of them), finances, leaders, movers, and shakers. I’ve had the delight of meeting and praying with area pastors and getting to know how we will work together in the Hudson community.
Scripture tells us that we are all learning together. That’s right, you’re on a learning curve too! The Bible reminds us that we are each given to one another, with important gifts and abilities to share. “…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13) You see, we’re on the learning curve together so that we can be a unified body of Christ-followers. It’s a big, challenging curve that takes a life-time of learning and growth. But, I’m excited to be sharing this experience with all of you. Let’s each share our knowledge and experience as Christian people to build his kingdom at Trinity and everywhere we are able.