Listening to others in our churches and ministries not only helps get them on board, as discussed in a prior post, but also enables us to better meet needs.
Think about it: We’re commissioned by Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations. But, other than “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything” He commanded (Matt. 28:19-20), Jesus didn’t provide detail about how to do it. Obviously, we need to keep listening to Him for the particulars. But, perhaps part of the process also involves discerning or assessing needs peculiar to the person(s) and setting.
When We Listen to Others, We’re Able to Discern Needs & Bridge the Gaps
There are so many unknowns in serving people that can only become known by listening. Time is so short and precious to waste it on efforts that fail to bridge the gap between who God wants people to be and where they are. We must take the time to listen so we can discern needs and bridge those gaps. — “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” (Prov. 18:15)
- Where we start discipling one person may differ from the next person due to prior spiritual understanding and background. — How are we going to know a person’s discipleship needs if we don’t take time to listen to their journey?
We need to first learn about the people we serve to most appropriately serve them. Otherwise, our efforts could be in vain, totally missing the mark. — “To answer before listening – that is folly and shame.” (Prov. 18:13)
- What works in one setting may not have the same impact, or be understood in another culture or setting. — How are we going to know if a person understands what we’re communicating if we don’t ask clarifying questions and listen for how they’re interpreting what we’re saying or doing?
We mustn’t assume people understand. Listening to them helps us know if we’re spanning the cultural divide or if we need to change course. — “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” (Prov. 1:5)