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8 Ways Listening Can Be a Ministry

  • Kyle Blevins iamredirected.com
8 Ways Listening Can Be a Ministry

The thought that you must have a special certification or unique ability to make a difference in someone’s life is as wasteful as Michael Jordan never using his talent on the basketball court.

Listening is one of the most fruitful ways to help someone, but is also among the most underused skills. Couple that with our current culture’s awareness of offending others and we have effectively talked ourselves out of connecting with people when they may need it most. But do we recognize the kind of opportunity we are letting go?

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What is Ministry?

What is Ministry?

To minister to someone is simply to attend to their needs. There is no ministry without love, which is setting another above yourself as described in Philippians 2:3. Here, Paul charges the Philippians “...in humility, value others above yourselves.”

Any act of love where we put others before ourselves is not an easy task. It requires intention and self-discipline. It is easy to “jump” in conversations as things we hear spark new ideas and possible resolutions. It feels good to be able to resolve things, but resolution alone is not always what people seek. They are looking for something else, something deeper.

Here are 8 ways listening can be a ministry.

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1. Listening makes people feel important.

1. Listening makes people feel important.

Listening makes people feel important. When people get angry in arguments, it is likely because they don’t feel heard or important. This translates to “I am not important.” This welcomes fear, which welcomes anger, thus how many arguments are born. Arguing often crowds out what is really going on as we start working through trivial disagreements. Once you start listening intently, the fight to be in the number one spot is no longer needed and a way has been made for the real problem to come out. Philippians 2:3 is now in action and soil has been prepared for seed.

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2. Listening offers acceptance.

2. Listening offers acceptance.

Listening intently has a goal of understanding, while hearing to identify problems has a goal of “fixing” things. That goal of understanding translates into acceptance. It tells people “I want to understand you more, because I care.” This makes people feel like they can share things with you without being judged. Jesus’ act at Calvary gave us the same level of acceptance. His actions told us “I know what you have done, but I still love you.”

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3. Listening makes everyone look deeper.

3. Listening makes everyone look deeper.

Just like there are powers that work against us in this world, there are misconceptions about what the root of an issue really is. Listening brings clarity and helps everyone involved look deeper. Once people feel important and accepted, they tend to explore their hearts more in depth. On the listener end, we also look deeper by continuing to support people in opening up.

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4. Listening promotes humility.

4. Listening promotes humility.

As listeners, our humility is exercised. Our pride breaks as we take our “fixing” hat off and just open our hearts. We hear the hearts of people rather than the echo of our own accomplishments or abilities. Humility is in the foundation of love.

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5. Listening restores hope.

5. Listening restores hope.

We live in a world full of negative news and selfishness being promoted. Someone taking time to put another person in front of themselves shines brighter now than perhaps ever before. Trust is not easily granted today, but someone that quietens themselves for the sake of helping another restores a hopeful image of humanity for at least one person. In Matthew 7:12, Jesus says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” The small act of listening can unlock a big perspective on life. This can restore hope that they “can do this” and people are with them in it.

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6. Listening brings healing.

6. Listening brings healing.

Once someone feels truly listened to, they feel accepted and that you can be trusted. As a result, people dig deeper and reveal more and more to the light. You have a special opportunity here to foster a healing environment through listening. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” It feels so freeing to get darkness out and there is healing in confession to each other as well as to God. We have all needed this at times in our lives, so we have and understand what it takes to offer that same help in listening.

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7. Listening multiplies love.

7. Listening multiplies love.

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” Then in Luke 6:38, Jesus says,” Give and it will be given to you.” So we receive from above, then we pass it on. When we receive love from Jesus, we pass it on to others. When others receive love from us, they then pass it on to others as well.

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8. Listening reveals Jesus.

8. Listening reveals Jesus.

Above all, Jesus is shown in the act of listening. Jesus put others before Himself, as He showed on the cross. In John 15:13, Jesus teaches us “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Thankfully, we do not have to carry the responsibility that He did, but listening to others expresses the same kind of selflessness that Jesus embodied. Listening with the purpose of lifting someone else up is how we lay ourselves down for our friends, and also how we make more of them.

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About the Author

About the Author

Kyle Blevins is a family man who resides just outside of Chattanooga, TN with his wife and two sons. He is in leadership for a top Fortune 500 company and is known for his empowering encouragement and bright personality. His passion is in restoring hope for people and connecting them to Jesus through writing.

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