I am a pastor who preaches at least three out of every four Sundays. In our current worship rhythm a lay leader reads the first Scripture of the day and then I read the second one. I usually announce the passage and then say, "Listen."
It is in every How to be a Good Friend/Parent/Spouse/Pastor/Neighbor article you can find... and yet it is something so many of us fail at (yes, I am noting that log in my own eye, thank you). I actually have two people in my life right now who are so (shall we say challenged?) at listening that they finish your sentence with you... or for you. I have noticed it and so every once in awhile I will say something completely bizarre instead of what the sentence was going to end with.
I just can't help myself.
I am about to transition from one pastorate to another and one of my BIG challenges is going to be shutting up and listening. Tied into this BIG challenge is another BIG one - patience. It takes a good five years for a congregation to really get to know you and for you to get to know them. More importantly, it takes that long for a congregation to trust you and they are only going to trust you if they feel like you have been listening to their story - both corporate and individual.
Now time is on my side, my intention is to be with this congregation at least until my son graduates from high school... currently he is 4. So I have time to get to know them, the challenge is getting my own self out of my better self's way.
For a small portion of time every Sunday I will lead worship. That is when I get to speak.
For the rest of the week, it is my privilege to listen.
Throughout our journey together God will speak and my prayer for congregation, pastors and staff is that we all will listen.