Importance of Listening

For my next three blogs I plan on focusing on something that has really been on my heart lately: listening.I’m discovering that listening to others is critical for effective cell ministry—whether it’s at the level of cell leader, cell pastor, or cell member. In fact, effective listening is critical to all aspects of life and ministry!

The word listen in the Bible occurs 352 times, and the word hear is found 379 times. Jesus said, for example, “Therefore consider carefully how you listen” (Luke 8:18). Part of the reason that listening requires “careful listening” is because we talk much slower than we think (some have said we think 5Xs faster than we talk). When someone is talking, the listener’s mind can race around to many other topics, and often does.

Most people don’t listen carefully. I love Steven Covey’s famous quote , “Most people do not listen to understand; they listen in order to answer. While the other is talking, they are preparing their reply” (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) . Yet, Scripture says, “He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame” (Proverbs 18:13). Really listening to others takes hard work.

When listening, at times, I don’t feel like I’m doing much work. I naturally equate speaking or teaching with work. Yet, careful listening often requires more work. Listening to the cell member or cell leader means that you need to direct your attention to the leader’s needs and life, and that’s hard work!

Do you find it difficult to listen?

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