The Ministry of Listening
by Lynn Armstrong
Over the past few months, we have all experienced changes in how we communicate with one another – how we share our concerns and love for and with each other. But as we figure out new ways to reach out, we need to remember how important good listening is for good communication.
In Stephen Ministry, a great deal of time is spent teaching and practicing listening skills because of its importance as a caregiver tool. You too can become a more caring listener by understanding and applying six listening concepts from Stephen Ministry training:
· Listening is active. Focus your attention of what the other person is saying instead of thinking of what you will say next.
· Listening takes patience. Often you will need to build trust before someone will open up to you. Constant, patient listening is key to relationships.
· Listening involves more than just words. Pay attention not only to what is said but also to body language to see if it agrees with what is spoken.
· Good listeners aren’t completely silent. They restate key thoughts or ideas to be sure they understood and ask questions to dig deeper.
· Listening happens over time. As you listen over several conversations, look for patterns or contradictions to identify underlying themes to explore.
· Listening is confidential. A great way to build trust and show the person you really care is to maintain confidentiality of everything that is said.
We want First Christian Church to be a place where members and guests truly feel people care about who they are and how they feel. Just as our Stephen Ministers learn to use good listening skills to communicate how much they care, so can you. Listening is a great gift we can give to one another.
Christ Caring for People