10 Tips for Being Slow to Speak and Quick to Listen

I recently read a Time magazine cover article about talking less (and, thus, listening more). Given that my whole world of teaching and preaching is about talking, I probably need to post on my computer screen what the article’s author posted on his in large font: “QUIET! LISTEN!”

I admit, though, that I’m not a very good listener. I tend to have multiple things on my mind, and they hinder my ability to hear well. I need to listen better—and that probably means talking less. Maybe you need to listen like I do:

  1. I need to listen better to the Word of God. I’m faithful in reading the Word daily, but that doesn’t mean that I always apply it consistently. Sometimes I listen only while I’m reading.
  2. I need to listen better to the Spirit of God. The Spirit never contradicts the written Word, but I need to be more sensitive to the Spirit’s leading throughout the day. I get so busy that I don’t always listen closely.
  3. I need to listen better to wiser men in my life. What that means is that I must always seek their advice. I tend to act first and then seek advice only after I mess up.
  4. I need to listen better to my spouse. When I’ve ignored her input in the past, I’ve made some big ministry mistakes. And, I just need to genuinely hear her when we’re talking.
  5. I need to listen better to my colleagues. I’m learning every day about the value of a plurality of voices. All of us are stronger when we get more input.
  6. I need to listen better to my church members. How can I truly help shepherd them if I don’t know what they’re facing? I need the reminder that shaking hands on a Sunday morning does not equal listening. 
  7. I need to listen better to the news. Only when I know what’s happening around the world can I best intercede for leaders, missionaries, and the nations. 
  8. I need to listen better to non-believers. If I want to reach them, I need to hear them. That means I must actually have friendships with them.
  9. I need to listen better to my own head and heart. It’s amazing, actually, how often I wrestle internally with myself. Sometimes my head knows what’s right, but I still move in the wrong direction. 
  10. I need to listen better to my own history. You’d think I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, but . . . .  

God, give me ears to hear. Let me be a listening leader.

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This article originally appeared on ChuckLawless.com and is reposted here with permission.

Chuck Lawless
Chuck Lawlesshttp://ChuckLawless.com

Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.