Are pastors the worst listeners?

listeningI think pastors are the worst listeners.  We’re so used to speaking, teaching, and giving answers.  We must learn to be quiet, quit being so verbal, learn to pay attention to what’s going on, and listen. – Eugene H. Peterson 

Sometimes it takes a reminder.  Of course we want to be good listeners. But it’s true.  We often find ourselves doing the talking – on many fronts. As a result, we don’t take much time to listen.  Even in our prayers we talk and talk.  What will it take for us to sharpen our listening skills today?

Here are some steps to become a better listener:

Decide to be a better listener. Half the battle is to just decide today to be a better listener.  Look for opportunities today to listen well, with family, co-workers, supervisors and friends.

Be active in listening. This isn’t something you do on the side – listening to someone is an important part of ministry.  Give the gift of your attention through active listening.

Engage without words while someone is talking.  Though eye contact, body language and minimal interjections, you can engage with someone as they are speaking to you.

Listen to the words, but also listen to what people are really trying to say.  You might even reiterate what they are saying as they wind down.

Ask questions.  Be a question asker.  Find out about people.  Listen carefully and ask follow up questions to what people are speaking about.

What do you think?  Are ministers the worst listeners?

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