Bowing or Boasting?

"Bow down your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge."
Proverbs 22:17

"As it is, you Boast in your arrogance. All such Boasting is evil."
 James 4:6

One of the fastest ways to stop growing spiritually or as a leader is to start boasting instead of bowing. In the verse above, the Bible talks about bowing our ear so we can hear and apply words of wisdom and understanding.

What does it mean to bow down your ear? It simply means to have a humble, teachable spirit. A spirit that is ready to receive knowledge, instruction, correction, and wisdom so you can continue to grow.

The opposite is boasting which leads to pride and arrogance. It can lead us to thinking we know it all. We think we have arrived. We think we've got this Children's Ministry thing all figured out. When we get to that place, we're in trouble. Our personal and professional growth is hindered and plateaus.

Here's some thoughts comparing Bowing to Boasting.

Bowing vs. Boasting
  • Listening more than talking vs. dominating a ministry conversation as you share your vast knowledge of children's ministry.
  • Listening to leaders who are younger than you that have fresh, innovative ideas vs. dismissing them because they are a newbie.
  • Writing down things you need to improve on vs. just writing down things your staff needs to improve on.
  • Knowing your weak areas and working on them vs. thinking you are at your leadership pinnacle.
  • Lead by asking questions vs. leading with commands.
  • Your staff/volunteers feeling free to give you feedback, advice, and insight vs. not being approachable.
  • Being passionate about growing as a leader vs. being complacent and content to get by.
  • Talking about what God is doing now vs. only talking about what God has done in previous ministry.
  • Asking others to help you see your blind spots vs. not being willing to admit you have some.
  • Learning from your mistakes vs. blaming others for your mistakes.
  • Apologizing when you make a bad leadership decision vs. telling your staff/volunteers to live with it because you're the "boss."
  • Watching how great leaders react in specific situations vs. being so self absorbed that you miss growing by observing. 
If we are in the habit of bowing, then we realize that our personal/leadership growth is a lifetime journey. We will never arrive. There will always be more to learn...more to fine tune...more to discover. And to be honest...the longer we do Children's Ministry...the less we may feel we know. And that's a good state of mind to be in.  

"A wise person will listen and continue to learn."
Proverbs 1:5

It's pretty simple...
Bowing leads to growth both personally and professionally.
Boasting plateaus growth both personally and professionally.