Learning how to reflexively avoid stupidity is a key ingredient to attaining great heights with any skill. It's amazing how many hours you can piss away trying add new and interesting techniques to your repertoire before you've really mopped up the basics.I've thought about this in light of my running. Since switching to barefoot running I have re-learned how to run and now I can run much further without getting tired, which makes me enjoy running more. I also no longer breathe as intensely as I used to, which is incredibly relaxing. Re-learning the basics has made me a much better runner.
So naturally I started to wonder what it meant to get back to the basics as a missionary. It occurred to me how much I read about missionary methodology, or church planting, or whatever. But a few months of great teaching on the Pauline Epistles had a dramatic effect on the way I thought about and did ministry. Really learning the Bible is the minister's equivalent to the pianist's scales. Knowing the word is the equivalent to the runner's knowing how to run. The Bible is my basics.
And it's a shame to me to have done ministry so long and have such a sad grasp of the basics.