To Join God’s Mission You Have to Listen

“If we truly believe God’s activity is greater than ours, then we have to take steps to seek his will.”

“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while, he knows something.” —Wilson Mizner

“The first duty of love is to listen.” —Paul Tillich

Did you know you listen every day with your eyes just as much as your ears? I listen every day as I read through Twitter posts, Facebook statuses, Instagram pictures, people watching, etc. Listening is an art, but it helps to approach it like a science.

I follow a wide variety of people on social media because I’m listening through technology—a science I learned from my friend Tony Steward. Christians, non-Christians, atheists, New Agers, Jews, Muslims, tech gurus, musicians, celebrities, churches, news outlets—you name it, I follow them. I get a pulse on culture and the world via the people and companies I follow and listen to.

The thing about listening is it goes hand-in-hand with intentionality. I can only share this concept with you, but you have to put feet to it. I listen because I care. I listen because I want to learn. I listen because I want to grow.

I want to join God where he’s at work.

I often talk about having our spiritual antennas up. If your spiritual antenna is up, you won’t miss opportunities to be Christ to someone in need. In the book and study Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby says, “God’s activity is far greater than anything we could aspire to do for him.”

Listening is another way of saying “being sensitive” to the Holy Spirit. If we truly believe God’s activity is greater, then we have to take steps to seek his will.

“Watch what God does and then you do it.” —Ephesians 5:1

As we open our eyes, ears and hearts and truly listen with all our ability (again this takes intentionality), we have the great privilege and opportunity of getting on the same page with our Creator and joining him in his work and mission.

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If you want to be truly innovative and learn new and exciting ways of doing ministry, you must be dependent upon the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 33:3 teaches us, “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.”

If we “call to God,” he promises to answer. This inherently requires listening on our part. God will reveal things that we would never figure out on our own, but we have to be ready, available, sensitive and actively listening.

Greg Atkinson is a leadership coach and guest-services consultant with more than two decades of ministry experience. This article originally appeared on