How Well Are You Listening?

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Pastors Blog

Comments: 0

Dear Pastors

How Well Are You Listening?

Let me kick off todays blog with an Andy Stanley quote:-“If you stop listening, don’t be surprised when people stop talking”. Ponder on that for a moment.

And then this:- “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”– Winston Churchill

And finally this:- “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry”. James 1:19 (NLT)

Pastors, lets be honest. We are really no different to 99% of the population. We don’t like feedback….not really. Yet we also know instinctively that feedback is good for us. It’s a bit like eating brussel sprouts. As Ken Blanchard (Management guru) famously said, “feedback is the breakfast of champions”. It’s a great analogy. Let’s take sport. Champions in whatever sporting endeavour thrive on a coaches evaluation and feedback….and may I remind you, often times not delivered particularly gently or delicately.

The benefits of receiving good feedback and listening carefully especially to criticism are many:-

  1. Builds trust and strong relationships.
  2. Helps you resolve conflict.
  3. Helps you to build more knowledge and insight.
  4. You are made aware of your own deficits and blind side.

And now the kicker. If you adopt a defensive posture when people are talking to you about an aspect of your conduct or performance then it won’t be long before people stop talking to you. Why? Because no one wants to hear you go off on some kind of self-exalting riff……no one. By the way, I think this is a very real issue in many marriages. As a result some couples have stopped talking deeply and meaningfully (D & M).

The leader that learns to humbly listen to both friend, foe and critic will be the champion.


Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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