For my next three blogs I plan on focusing on something that has really been on my heart lately: listening.Iâ€™m discovering that listening to others is critical for effective cell ministryâ€”whether itâ€™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, â€œTherefore consider carefully how you listenâ€ (Luke 8:18). Part of the reason that listening requires â€œcareful listeningâ€ 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 donâ€™t listen carefully. I love Steven Coveyâ€™s famous quote , â€œMost 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, â€œHe who answers before listeningâ€” that is his folly and his shameâ€ (Proverbs 18:13). Really listening to others takes hard work.
When listening, at times, I donâ€™t feel like Iâ€™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 leaderâ€™s needs and life, and thatâ€™s hard work!
Do you find it difficult to listen?