by Dan O’Deens – April 20, 2022

Are you a good listener?   Listening might be the most important yet least developed skill within Church leadership.  We are so busy caring for the sheep and preparing for all the logistics for the weekend experience and while we are attempting to do all of that well, we wake up and realize we are not listening very well.

There are too many voices!  Everyone has an opinion.  Often in Churches we confuse the preferences of the people for the ‘position’ of God.  Leaders must learn to discern the Voice of God over the distracting voice of the people.

God speaks to those who take time to listen and He listens to those who take time to pray.   Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.”

It is important for leaders to listen to the people.  But listening to the people is very different than leading the people that God has placed under our care.

When do we listen to the people and when do we listen to God?

Listening To People

3 Advantages – When we listen to people:

  1. It shows we value others – when people feel heard they feel valued. God gave us 2 ears and one mouth for a reason.  Active listening is intentional and purposeful.
  2. It brings out the best in others – we are better together. The process of ideation to implementation is improved when we surround ourselves with other minds and hearts.  This process helps us move from ‘good’ to ‘GREAT.’
  3. It provides a platform for conflict resolution – when we see the need to understand rather than to be understood people respond. When we listen trust in the community is elevated.  Communication is effective only when one is speaking and one is listening.  It is not always about getting ‘our way.  People are not their ideas.  We value all people, but we want to move with the best idea.

Listening To God Through The Holy Spirit

3 Advantages – When we listen to God:

  1. It turns our attention toward God – Samuel heard God’s voice. He said, “speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”  Is our focus on the problems or the problem solver?
  2. It positions us with a healthy posture of a ‘learner’ rather than a ‘leader.’ All leaders are learners first.  We are first followers.   We listen to the Good Shepherd.  John 10:3 says, ‘the sheep listen to His voice.’
  3. It validates the direction as coming from the Lord rather than human distraction or desire.

Too often we flounder as leaders due to the tension of the plurality of voices we are hearing.

God’s Word is the standard.   If God has spoken, then we must listen to His voice.  We have to learn and be honest about whether that voice was truly from God or from our preferences, traditions or culture.

As leaders, we must turn our ear and align our ears to the frequency of the Holy Spirit.   Decisions need to be made every day that are not specifically addressed in the Bible.  We must tune our hearts to His heart.  We must learn to listen to the Holy Spirit.  And when He speaks, we must follow.

Moses, was called to be a leader.  He was tasked to guide the children of Israel into the Promised Land.  He had a mission.   But like every leader, the road to the promised land went directly through the wilderness.  Hardships became a reality.  People grumbled.  In fact, their voice was loud.  We want to go back to Egypt.   In Egypt we had food and water.  Really?  You want to go back to slavery and bondage?

Moses listened to the people and cried out to God to care for the needs of His people, but he did not waver from the goal…the Promised Land.

Most leaders are going 100 miles per hour attempting to get everything done.  But do we or are we willing to stop everything to get alone with God and listen to what He might want to say about the direction we are seeking?  And when God speaks, are we ready to obey God rather than man?

Psalm 29:3-5 “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.”

Revelation 3:22 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”