Active listening and small groups have become an important part of the church community. Back in the days, church service was usually made up of long sermons with the pastor being the only one allowed to speak. Nowadays, the manner of communication becomes a two-way street. Yes, sermons and lectures are still there. But there are a number of churches who are able to adapt to change already. Small groups were formed in order to facilitate open communication between the church and its members. It encourages the community to share, learn, and express themselves in a manner that is beneficial for both parties. Such a millennial thing? Perhaps. But it works. Small groups and other similar activities have proven to be effective in fostering stronger relationships among members. Instead of the usual pastor who solely holds the mic, everyone now has the voice to share his insights. It may not be as grand as the spot of the pastor, but still, it is still an avenue for their voices to be heard.

Active listening is very crucial.

Lisa Dresdner shared tips on how to do this:

  • Listen with openness – don’t let your judgment get the best of you. Keep your ears and hearts open to anything that you will hear. There may be things that you will agree and disagree with. But do not judge the speaker just because of this.
  • Listen with curiosity – be genuinely interested with what other people have to say. Remember the primary focus of the talk is to give everyone a stage wherein they could voice out their minds—not for others to ‘fix’ their concerns or address their sentiments. Leave that for another session.
  • Listen without asking questions that interrupt the speaker – timing is very important in listening sessions. Everyone will have their time to speak. So, if you have something in mind about anything that they’ve said, jot it down and save it for later. Interruption disrupts the person’s flow of thoughts.
  • Listen for patterns and for what is not being said – learn how to read for context clues and non-verbal cues. This will help you understand the person more rather than just focusing on what he actually says. As they say, action speaks louder than words.
  • Listen with intention – set your mind on what your goal is for listening: is it to understand that person better? Is it perhaps to know his quirks and what triggers him? Set your mind with a goal and focus on that during the session.


Check out: Building Relationships With Millennials



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