I sat in the second row at the seminar, third seat from the center aisle. I never sit that close, but I had decided that I wanted to concentrate, to focus on learning. There was a man in the first seat by the center aisle. He leaned over, looked at my nametag, and misread the “where I’m from.” line. I smiled, corrected him, and looked at his nametag.
I immediately recognized his name, and then his voice. He’s a reputable pastor in a reputable church in Chicago. I’ve known his name for years, listened to his voice on the radio from time to time, read a couple of his books.
As the seminar started, I thought about whether to say anything to him, whether to ask some profound question. But I plunged into taking notes. And realized that the man next to me was taking notes. Page after page, we kept pace. Because it was a content-rich, concept-rich, seminar.
At a break between presentations, we were to stand, stretch, and tell the person next to us one thing we’d learned in the previous session. I said, “I’ll tell you in six hours.” Not very profound, but accurate. I need time to process. He smiled, and then clearly summarized the core question facing churches from the previous hour. I asked a followup question, he answered, and then it was time to go back to work.
Again, we were both taking notes in great detail. At the end of the morning, he said, “Good to see you.” “Good to meet you,” I said. “Good to see you,” he said as we shook hands.
He’s a learner. At seventy-two, he’s still humbly listening, meeting, learning, growing. There is still a lot to learn.
Apparently, that’s what I learned from the first session.