Reading Time: 5 minutes

I’m a great listener!  …just make sure no one lets my wife read this!  All joking aside, I don’t think I’m alone in my inability to listen at times.  Most of us want to share our thoughts and ideas.  Why? Because we thought them, and they seem to make sense.  What I’ve learned, however, is that my best thoughts are formed after I spend a lot of time listening. [callout]This is a 3 part series about how we can continue to learn beyond the traditional classroom setting.[/callout]

I’m offering four ways we can continue to learn by listening. Maybe we’ll be able to find some ‘art’ in all the noise.

1.     Classes, Seminars and Conferences

I know, you might be done with school, papers are behind you, and final exams are no more.  But guess what?  The world keeps evolving!#Listening is vital as we understand our unchanging #faith in an ever-changing #culture. Click To Tweet

I have a retired pastor in my congregation who always begins her questions with, “It’s been a long time since I’ve studied this, what’s the current general understanding of…?” Usually my answer isn’t different, but she’s eager to learn if scholars have learned something new or how the Church is responding to current issues that she didn’t have to deal with.

Here’s my point, take EVERY opportunity to listen to teachers, audit courses, or take in seminars. Always be a student! Listening is vital as we understand our unchanging faith in an ever-changing culture.

2.     Mentoring

I’ve learned so much from those around me. When my wife and I were ready to jump into ministry, we were looking for a staff role to get our ‘feet wet.’ Unfortunately, opportunities were slim. Some doors closed, while others weren’t a good fit for us.  We ended up being called as interim pastors at a small church in Bay Roberts (where we are currently serving as Lead Pastors).You may not always agree or understand, but #listening will always lead to mature #leadership. Click To Tweet

At 25 years old, I started leading a church of about 75.  I was well over my head, so I knew I had to surround myself with leaders and pastors who could encourage and mentor me along the way.

Never miss an opportunity to listen and learn from those before you and around you. You may not always agree or understand, but listening will always lead to mature leadership.

3.     Music/Audio Books

I like white noise when I work.  In fact, I’m sitting in a coffee shop as I write this post.  Sometimes I listen to music while I work, or put in head phones during my devotions.  It helps me focus and hone in on my creative thoughts.

While this is helpful for me, it might be a distraction to some.  If that’s the case, make music and/or audio books, a part of your learning.  Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to some lyrics, reflect on them and think on their meaning and impact.
  • Change music styles. If you like gospel music, listen to some contemporary music and vice versa.  You may actually gain an appreciation for the authentic heart of the message and not just the style.
  • If you’re not a reader, listen to an audio book or scripture online through a FREE app like YouVersion.

Listening to music and audio books are powerful ways to develop your thoughts.

4.     Online Videos and Podcasts

Technology has given us some great ways to listen.  Websites like YouTube, and apps like iTunes have opened the door to listening and growing in a cost-effective way.

Podcasts are a great way to engage in important topics while getting to know your favorite authors! Click To TweetIn the past, you had to purchase tapes or CDs of speaking engagements and teaching.  Now, there are thousands of teachers, pastors, and leaders offering fantastic content for FREE!  Here are some of my favourite podcasts that I listen to regularly:

Podcasts are a great way to engage in important topics while getting to know your favorite authors!

Your turn…

Learning to slow down and listen is vital to our continuing spiritual growth.  If listening is not currently a part of your discipleship, consider adding one of these ideas to your routine!

[reminder]How you do learn through listening?[/reminder]

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