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Sacred Listening is Transformational

Sacred listening is not's transformational.

You've probably seen research showing that people, even those in ministry, tend to listen to respond. The whole time someone else is talking, they're just waiting (sometimes impatiently) to get their turn to speak. This posture can feel like a "win" because we get to say the things that are so important to us, but it typically fails to have the impact on the other person that we'd like.

I've seen so many people in youth ministry talk over or cut off a young person just to offer correction, advice or input only to have the young person completely disregard them.

This position is often countered with suggestions that we focus more of our energy on listening to understand. When we listen to understand, two people win. The other person feels heard and we get to learn something about them. It's a "win-win."

But even this approach is still very transactional. What we're going for in ministry is something much more TRANSFORMATIONAL.

We need our listening to be focused on relationship building. When we listen in a sustained way over time with empathy and find places of genuine commonality by asking relevant questions with genuine curiosity and sharing of ourselves, we can move beyond the transactional.

When we treat listening as a sacred act in pursuit of real relationship, both parties are fundamentally opening themselves up to change. That can have a profound impact on both parties individually and the church more broadly.

This is how we get to "win-win-win" or, if you're a fan of The Office, what is commonly known as Michael Scott Territory (S02E21). The future of faith and the health religion will be build by those who are forming new, deep and lasting relationships by listening with clear intentionality to honor each other.

We are trying to do our part by offering some simple exercises to get you started at

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