Friday, August 2, 2013

Are You Willing to Learn From Those Outside Your Tribe?

As humans we are all part of a tribe or in some cases we are part of many tribes. This is never truer than for those in the evangelical circle, we all have our tribe. Sometimes this comes in the form of a denomination, a network, or a set of beliefs. And at times there is some overlap of tribes based on ones preferences, convictions, and beliefs.

There is nothing wrong with being part of a tribe as it is human nature, but at times we so value our own tribe that we are unwilling to cooperate or learn from those outside of our own tribe. Unfortunately I have seen this first hand with certain tribes that I am actually a part of, although I am usually one of the "different" guys in the tribes I am part of as I tend to look outside the tribe in order to learn from others that are doing something different.

I heard my pastor J.D. Greear say recently that "you will wither and die if you only learn from your own tribe." And yet, I witness this over and over again within some of my tribes. For the Reformed guys that are filling up places like Southern Seminary then everything has to be Reformed. If a guy is slightly off the Reformed radar then they cannot learn from him. For my Baptists guys we often come across as if "we have it all figured out," and act as if you either join us or get out of our way. Sadly, I have seen this on the mission field in many places too. The attitude that our tribe has established the best practices is good and well until we are unwilling to learn from others. 

So, are you willing to learn from those outside of your tribe? I have already mentioned that I am usually one of the different ones amongst a tribe in part for this reason. Venturing outside of my own tribe to learn from others has always been a way to build a bridge into partnership for me. Figure out what tribes you belong to and then find a couple of tribes that are different from you that maybe even make you uncomfortable and go spend some time with them, learn from them, and build some bridges.

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