Unfortunately, most of us do not listen well. Instead of listening attentively, we wait for that split second of pause to jump in with our own stories and comments, our eyes wander the room, and our ears focus on other sounds. Attentive listening is a discipline that needs to be developed. It doesn't just happen.
Attentive listening comes as a response to prayer—praying for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our hearts while attentively listening to a person verbalize emotions, thoughts, experiences, and doubts. What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to hear? Where do you see God moving in this person's life? Where are you noticing spiritual growth and discernment that was not evident earlier? This is not the time to compare stories, give advice, or reprimand a person's actions. Listening is a time to appreciate and discern what is happening in another's life.
Note: If you would like to have a copy of the full resource about the topic of listening from SmallGroups.com, please drop by the GroupLife Center. It contains articles on the following:
The Heart of ListeningAn overview on listening well By Beatrice Rusu
Creating a Safe Environment for Your Small GroupBecause if it's not safe, no one will share. By North Point Ministries, Inc.
Having a Mindset of EmpowermentListen for growth opportunities. By Diana Bennett
Show Them HowTeach your group members how to listen well by modeling. By Diana Bennett
Lead the WayThree critical listening skills for small-group leaders By Joel Comiskey
Help Group Members Become Great ListenersTelling them the benefits and showing them how By Rick Howerton
Small-Group Listening SkillsSimple tips for becoming great listeners By Bill Search
Learning to ListenThe importance of paying attention By Dave Treat