by David Kelly •
As a youth guy one of the hardest things to do is continually stay up with the latest youthful craze.
Honestly I quit trying about 6 years ago when my kids went to school. They will let me know when I’m uncool and when whatever I say is out of date.
I use to think as the youth guy I needed to know their lingo and be able to ball with them ’till dark or be the best at capture the flag or get the most people out in paintball to fit in, to have an opportunity to minister to these modern day students.
As I get older and I continually learn lessons the hard way, I’ve come to realize one of the main keys to ministry is to get people to a place where they want to talk to you and you want to listen to them.
In other words to be good at ministry I’ve learned I’ve got to like listening to people. This may seem easy, just shut your mouth, ask a couple of intriguing questions and away you go. But the sticking point is learning to like listening to people.
Frankly, some people are just so introverted it takes something like a car wreck to get them to say “Wow!” Many teenagers would rather answer you with a yes, no or a nod or a text message or just ignore you all together. So how do you learn to like listening to people that don’t want to talk to you in the first place.
Easy by showing them God’s grace, by sharing the love of God with them, by talking about the Gospel with them and how it is relevant to their life. How do you do that? Engage them with real questions. Not just, “Hey how are you doing?” But questions like, “Do you know how to change a flat tire? Would you like to learn?” Or questions like, “How did you get that scar? What is the one thing you a more scared of than anything else? Have you ever mailed someone a letter?, tell me about that letter.”
Then take that story or answer they tell you and weave it into the Gospel. It doesn’t always work but often times you can say Wow, that’s cool how God orchestrated that meeting just at the right time so you could ….that reminds me of how much God loves me so much that He sent His only Son to die for me. God’s pretty amazing that way, don’t you think?
Learn to tune in to what people are saying, it is important to them, even more important than what you are thinking about saying back to them, learn to pick out key things and be able to identify with what people say, be an engaged listener. Find something to like about what people are saying and affirm to them that you care about what they are saying, even if you don’t agree with them.
I’m done talking now, remember I’m trying to learn to like listening, so go ahead say whatever you like…The floor is yours!