Beware of the Self-Proclaimed Expert

ExpertYou probably know a person like this.  He is a self-proclaimed expert on most any subject.

  • You mention a car that you are thinking about buying.  The self-proclaimed expert will tell you all about it.
  • You talk about wanting to vacation on the Gulf Coast.  The self-proclaimed expert will tell you where you must go.
  • You speak of a problem in your work.  The self-proclaimed expert knows what you must do.
  • You speak of difficulty in your marriage or with your children.  The self-proclaimed expert can tell you exactly what you must do.

Such “experts” can be amusing or even irritating depending on the situation.

Unfortunately, in congregations, there are also self-proclaimed experts who seem to know exactly what ought to be done at any given moment.

  • Preachers might feel like they need to speak on many subjects and address so many different issues.  If they are not careful, they can sound like self-proclaimed experts.
  • Persons might serve as elders and then feel as if they are supposed to know exactly what an individual or family must do in a crisis.
  • Church leaders might try to bluff their way through problems instead of admitting that they don’t know how to deal with a particular problem but are trying to learn.
  • Ministers might begin working with the youth group, community care, or other ministry and believe that they know so much more than anyone else in their same role.

The mark of a learner is that they ask good questions.

Instead, the self-proclaimed expert constantly gives her opinion.

The mark of a learner is that they ask for examples in order to understand.  

The self-proclaimed expert just keeps talking.

Sooner or later, it becomes obvious that self-proclaimed experts are really only experts in their own eyes.     Meanwhile others keep silent having realized long ago that these people don’t know what they are talking about.

The person who is more impactful is that person who is strong, transparent, and yet humble.  This person will often say:

  • I don’t know.
  • I have no experience with this.
  • I have never done that before.
  • This is new to me.
  • I am here to learn. 

Such people actually have far more to offer than the self-proclaimed expert.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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