Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Listen.

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.

13 comments:

Songbird said...

This is wise counsel, indeed.

Mary Beth said...

Amen. I look forward to walking with you as you listen.

Purechristianithink said...

I did not do this, but FWIW one of my elder brothers in ministry advised me to preach largely "from the barrel" during my first year at Academic Suburb Church so that I would have more time to spend listening to people building relationships. I didn't not do it because I didn't think the idea had merit but mostly because I'd not been organized enough about saving my old sermons.

Word verification for this comment?
Wized. Hmmmm.

Listing Straight said...

Well said... You are a good listener... I know...

DogBlogger said...

(o)

Coasting Anon said...

Glad to find you here.
Excited for your new, well deserved, adventure.
Proud to be your sister.

Rev Kim said...

Thank you so much for this. As I enter the fourth year of my first pastorate, I needed to remember that it takes time to listen to the individual and corporate story, and that it is a privilege to listen, and to be the one who gets to listen.

Kathryn said...

Thank you sweetie...that is something for me to hear and remember (and I'm rather taken with PCIT's brother's advice - which at least makes me feel better about the re-use of more or less everything this Christmas)....specially the 5 years bit. Kathryn F, repeat after Kathrynzj
"You won't do it all overnight..."

On another note, what a lovely new blog. Happy to be here :-) xxx

Jennifer said...

What everybosy said: so wise-- and Godspeed in this chapter...

Lomagirl said...

Congratulations on the new job. Blessings as you finish with the old one and transition on.
Glad to have found this blog.

Cathy said...

You have wisdom beyond your years, dear. I, too, look forward to following you on your journey.

Gracebythesea said...

Dear Almost New head fo Staff,
I Found you! Been wondering and praying that this would happen. mazel tov.

As you make tranistion in house and new church home, I want to encourage you to be as kind to yourself as possible.

Listening, you already wisely state, is crucial to a good start in the pastorate. But since it's been a while since your last start-up... don't forget how exhausting it is. So again I say, be kind and gentle with yourself as you transition.
Ocean prayers and deep peace
GBTS

Crimson Rambler said...

so glad to find you here!