Communication is a key element in all human relationships – it helps us to get along. Relationships often break down because of poor communication. There are two parts to effective communication - talking and listening. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of giving couples pre-marriage classes and one thing most of them have to work on is their ‘listening skills’. I generally give couples a listening exercise and tell them to go and practise. So often people don’t get what others are saying simply because they’re not listening. Good communication comes down to good listening which enables you to make an appropriate response.
As leaders we want to be heard by our members and we want them to respond appropriately – doing what we’ve encouraged them to do. We can get frustrated or even angry when we know what members ought to be doing to thrive. We tell them, and it would seem they haven’t heard a word we’ve said.
I believe there’s a principle which, if we adopt, would help us to communicate more effectively with those we lead. It’s simply this: ‘Leaders must first listen to Yahweh before they can expect members to listen to them’. Yahshua modelled this principle in His ministerial life. The Gospels indicate that He regularly slipped away to commune with His Father. In those times He talked with Yahweh and in doing so He did some effective listening. His teaching, the signs and miracles He did were a direct result of listening and responding appropriately. That’s why He was able to say, “These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me” (John 14:24, NIV).
Does Yahweh talk to you? He wants to talk to you regularly; it comes with Him making you a leader. Effective listening means you focus your attention on the person who is talking. We will not be able to hear if we’re in a situation or environment where we can be distracted. Look at what Yahshua did. He got away from the crowd; His friends; His disciples; from the noise of daily life - to be alone with His Father, to hear what He had to say (Mark 6:45). We need to do the same.
When you’re in the habit of listening to Yahweh the people you lead or minister to will know. Your words will take on new weight and authority and people will be drawn in to hear and respond appropriately (Luke 4:32).
Let me encourage you to make a practice of regularly ‘getting away’ with Yahweh to listen to Him. You’ll be amazed at what you will hear. You will speak with His authority, and you’ll find that those who have ‘tuned’ spiritual ears will hear what the Spirit is saying.
“Train yourself to listen. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn when your mouth is shut.” Anon
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Epictetus (GK philosopher)
“If you would have [Yahweh] hear you when you pray, you must hear him when he speaks.”
Mac's Quips and Quotes
[Yahshua] said to them, “I assure you that the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. What the Son does is always modelled on what the Father does, for the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he does himself.” John 5:19 (Phillips)
“For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” John 17:8
Father, You’ve called me to lead this group of people (these may be children or adults) and I know You want to speak into their lives through me; to bring them into a deeper relationship with Yourself. Sometimes my words fall on deaf ears, but please help me to get with You so I can listen out for Your words, so the words I speak will not be my own but Yours. Your words are Spirit and they bring life.
For just as each of us has one body with many members...