Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Conversation

Jason Helopoulos offers the suggestions below to pastors [he is one] who, he says, "are some of the worst listeners I have ever been around." Most of it is just as relevant to those of us who are laymen.
  • Sermons are for the pulpit—Leave sermons in the pulpit and enter into dialogue with your people. Dialogue requires talking and listening. Taking breaths in conversation is a good thing. It allows the other person to talk!
  • Remember that the person before you is the person you are to be ministering to—seize this moment instead of thinking about talking to the person “over there.”
  • Be teachable—we may be called to teach, but that does not mean that we can’t be taught ourselves.
  • Show honor to all—the five year old or the mentally disabled person begging for your attention and conversation after the worship service is just as important as the District Attorney and his wife who are walking by.
  • Silence is golden—Silence in conversation is fine. The tension is not a bad thing. It often helps bring the true issue to the surface. Don’t fill the space.
  • Maintain eye contact—most pastors are multitaskers and are busy looking around. Stop!
  • Ask questions—avoid jumping to conclusions and giving your stock answer. Ask clarifying question after clarifying question.
  • Don’t always feel the need to lead—Many pastors are busy leading all the time and so every conversation they enter into is dominated by them. Allow others to lead the conversation. You will surprised at what others want to talk about.
  • Don’t be “super-spiritual”—Every conversation does not have to end with a discourse on the atonement. Nor does every conversation need to be a demonstration forum of your Bible knowledge.
  • Think through questions—On your way to a meeting with someone, make a mental list of questions to ask them. And then ask the questions and listen.
  • Care tenderly—Always remember that these are Christ’s sheep. They are his and we are to lead them with a loving-tender care. And surely that must mean listening to them.
Jason Helopoulos on Listening Pastors – Kevin DeYoung