Pastor’s are known as talkers. They speak to people every week. Forty-five minutes during a Sunday morning. Thirty minutes at a Bible Study. Twenty minutes at a prayer group. They talk.
Worship leaders are known as singers. They sing to people every chance they get. Sunday morning church, rehearsals, private lessons, weddings…always singing.
But when have we, as pastors or leaders, just listened?
Franklin D Roosevelt (32nd President) loved to entertain guests at the White House. His desire for connecting with people become so popular that he had to create a line and have everyone pass by while he shook hands and conversed. One day he had been feeling as if people weren’t really listening to him so he tried something… as he greeted each guest he would whisper as they were walking away, “I murdered my grandmother.” Everyone gave similar responses, “You’re doing a great job,” or “Nice to meet you,” or “Great, keep up the good work.” Roosevelt became pretty upset until the ambassador to Bolivia come by. When Roosevelt whispered, “I murdered my grandmother,” the ambassador leaned in and said, “Well sir, I’m sure she had it coming.”
The people we serve have a story they are living, and they need to share it. The job promotion they just received, the news of an illness, personal struggles, they all are happening in the people around us every day. And we need to hear about it. But that requires a skill very few have mastered: listening.
My challenge to you this week is simple…stop talking long enough to allow others to tell their story. When given the space to be heard, you will be amazed at what people will share with you. And when you are a good listener to them, you will better know how to speak to them.
Written by: Dave Feltman
Dave is a Search Coach for Froot Group, a worship staffing & consulting company.