Lend Me Your Ear: The Art of Active Listening

By Kayla Stevens

Think concerning the final time you observed a baby in your ministry who felt cared for and seen by an grownup chief. Introduce me to that chief, and I can assure that you may be introducing a pacesetter who is aware of how you can hear. He might not make one of the best self-portrait out of pasta or arrive fifteen minutes early as requested. But that chief is aware of how you can hearken to a baby. 

The self-discipline of listening is a a lot wanted and far uncared for space of studying in our ministries. In the midst of delivering sound content material, sanitizing our lecture rooms, and reviewing Bible expertise, we are able to usually overlook that one in all our strongest instruments as leaders is the flexibility to create space for lively listening—not merely hear what a baby says whereas concurrently fascinated with our response. As leaders, we should keep in mind that we’re referred to as to show kids not classes.  

Consider these alternatives as you leverage a listening tradition in your lecture rooms: 

Legitimize Curiosity. Oftentimes, youngsters don’t wish to know the proper reply as a lot as they need a secure place to ask their questions. When a baby involves you with a query she might have requested Alexa, take discover that she isn’t just on the lookout for a solution. She is inviting you to assist her interpret and make sense of the fact of the world round her. Recognize the present of that type of vulnerability and lean into it. Look for alternatives to ask main questions corresponding to,  “Can you tell me more about ______?” Verbally acknowledge the query and affirm a baby’s curiosity. (That is a good query. I’ve questioned about that, too!) 

As leaders, we get to set the tone of creativity and curiosity. When curiosity is stifled, questions are silenced. But, after we give ourselves and the youngsters in our lecture rooms the chance to be curious, we invite questions that probe into deeper religious studying and growth.   

Lessen Perfection. Allow youngsters to be flawed generally. If youngsters can’t make errors about their religion at church, the place can they? As we leverage a tradition of listening to deepen connection and progress, we should reduce the best of perfection and proper solutions and lean into the method of studying. Consider responding to youngsters by asking deeper questions. (I’m actually occupied with what you need to say and I wish to make sure that I don’t misunderstand you. Can you assist me perceive ______. I’m wondering what our Bibles must say about that. Let’s see if we are able to discover out.) Be appropriately weak together with your class and provides your self, your youngsters, and your leaders permission to not have the entire solutions or get it proper on a regular basis. 

Learn Together. Get enthusiastic about studying with youngsters in your classroom, not merely studying for them. Remind youngsters that you simply love their questions, even in case you don’t have the solutions. (And give your self permission to not have all of the solutions!) As we study concerning the Bible alongside the youngsters in our lecture rooms, solutions shouldn’t be our fundamental goal aim of studying. Discovery needs to be. As we study alongside kids, we talk that their questions are valued and they aren’t alone as they uncover extra about God. Learning collectively cultivates an lively participation for kids and provides them applicable accountability in proudly owning their religion moderately than receiving data from their chief. 

If we wish to maximize our affect as leaders we should make room for intentional listening. As we domesticate an environment the place questions are welcomed, curiosity is inspired, and errors are acceptable, we start to hear not solely to the questions, but additionally to the very hearts of youngsters.

Kayla Stevens is a Content Editor for Lifeway Kids and a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has been serving in Kids Ministry for over 10 years and has a deep ardour for empowering kids to personal their religion and develop deeper within the pleasure of Jesus. 

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