This discussion guide accompanies the Sunday, April 26th sermon at Burns Church of Christ.
Life is an incredible teacher. Unfortunately, we’re not all great students!
Some people have 20 years of experience at work. Others have one year of experience, repeated twenty times.
What’s the difference? Mindset!
Are we people who seek out opportunities to learn and grow? Do we let our failures teach us and make us better? Or do we avoid taking chances that carry any risk of failure whatsoever.
In this week’s message, we focused on the idea that we can learn from times like this. We can learn from anything, if we’re willing to. One teacher told me that you can learn from any sermon—even if what you learn is, “This is an unhelpful way to explain this idea.”
We get excited when scientists make breakthroughs. We want to hear about a new drug that works wonders against disease. It’s far less exciting, but negative (or null) results are incredibly valuable, too. At the end of an unsuccessful trial, scientists need to share ideas about what doesn’t work in order to advance further research and prevent others from wasting time and resources going down a dead-end path.
The shorthand name for this idea—that we should look at life as an opportunity to learn from every moment—is called a growth mindset.
Growth mindset people believe that hard work, perseverance, and effort determine destiny far more than innate talent or blind luck. (The opposite of the growth mindset is the fixed mindset).
I think this idea finds a lot of support in scripture: that we should be people who learn and listen and grow and improve at every possible moment.
Read and discuss the following scriptures:
1 Peter 2:2-3
How can you and your circle be intentional about developing a growth mindset?
If this mindset of curiosity and learning is so beneficial, what keeps us from it?
How can the growth mindset apply to your education or work?
How would a church led by people with this mindset look different than a church dominated by a fixed mindset?
For further study:
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck is the standard reading about this idea. It is applied to education, sports, business, health, and more.
- “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve” is Carol Dweck’s TED Talk that has been viewed more than 10 million times. It’s only 10 minutes and is a great intro to the topic.
- Cognitive Spiritual Development: a Christ-Centered Journey to Spiritual Self Esteem by Lonnie Jones is a religious application of Dweck’s Principles. Easy to read book.