Crosspoint Church | Georgetown, TX

To Reach Others…Listen to Others!

Active Listening Skills - 4 Tips to Practice

This week’s devotions are based on this week’s message: Everyone Outreach!  (WATCH HERE)

One of the hardest things to do is listen…like, really listen.

Our attention can easily be drawn by a text message that comes in on our phone and we miss what someone says.

Our mind shuts down when we assume that we know what the person is going to say.

Our effort diminishes when we have an initial reaction of disagreement and shifts to a mode that desires to counter and answer.

Being curious and asking questions is hard to do, however, you might say it is biblical.  James writes (1:19) “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,…”  Your mom said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

Why is taking time to listen such a loving thing to do and so important to reaching others for Jesus?

  1. Listening shows the other person that they are important.

When someone takes time in this busy, sound-bite world to actually listen to what you have to say, it is a valuable commodity.  Some may be glad that you pay a counselor to listen to you rather than take the time to listen themselves (perhaps more relationships would avoid counseling if regular listening took place!).  When you put aside your phone, and give your attention to the one talking, it communicates in a strong way that the person, their life and their thoughts are important to you.  And when someone feels valued, it earns you the right to speak into their lives.  Why?

2. Listening builds trust.

Giving your opinion at a moment’s notice is easy to do, but carries little value to most. Only when you have taken time to build at least a beginning relationship by listening does the speaker learn to trust you.  One only has to look at comments on a Facebook post to realize that few people take time to really understand a comment or a question and just fire off their opinion or sarcastic remark.  People are quick to share their opinion and spew their knowledge, but without taking time to build trust, the words will quickly evaporate without effect, except perhaps a negative one.

3. Listening allows you to respond to the real issue, not just the perceived issue.

It’s easy to answer the wrong question. The surface issue is not the real issue.  When we react to people’s initial statements, we can often launch into an answer that has nothing to do with what they are really asking.  However, if we stay in a place of curiosity and listen, we can allow the person to peel back the layers and really get to the heart of their belief system.  I have learned this over the years and now much more often ask questions rather than give answers right away.  A question I like to ask is, “Tell me how you came to that belief/understanding.”  Or simply say, “Tell me more.”  The person who raises the statement that God won’t condemn homosexuals is not needing a biblical listing of the passages to the point, but rather after a few questions you realize that the real issue is concern for a relative that has announced that is his preferred lifestyle and hoping there is a biblical loophole to be understood.  The response is very different after you listened.  The person who says “I don’t believe God would punish sin” is not needing the counter that he will, but rather time to explain she had a father who never thought she was good enough and is struggling to believe her heavenly Father would ever say that she wasn’t good enough.  The response is very different after you listen.

To reach people we must learn to listen.  Stay curious.  Ask questions.  Actively listen and watch God uncover the real hurt that his Gospel heals!


Apply: Practice asking one question in your conversations today.  See what you learn as a result.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love and grace and the opportunity to share it.  Help me be a better listener so I have more opportunities to share the great news of your Gospel.  AMEN.

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