Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Power of Listening

Years ago while sitting in a hotel lobby, one of my guests asked me, "Greg, tell me about yourself." The moment I started sharing, he turned his face in a different direction and began talking with other people. I didn't continue to tell him about myself anymore, but I felt insulted. I've never forgotten this encounter. From this experience, I learned this:  
Never ask question to someone if you are not prepared to listen. 

I've had many hurtful experiences where others are not willing to listen. Lots of the mistakes leaders make is not listening enough. Listening does not always mean you approve what other people say. Listening to people's request and demands does not mean you follow their wish.

Listening to people shows  that:
(1) You value them
(2) You respect them
(3) You care about them

You will be respected as a leader if you just listen more. Spend time with people whenever you can. While task is important, people are more important than the task. 

John Maxwell used to say, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". One way to show that you really care is to listen enough. If people know that you care about them, they will listen to you as well. As a leader, you need to show how much care before you demand something. You need to touch their heart first before you ask for their hand. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Challenges in Ministry

Greg's Photo taken at Kep, Cambodia
Life and ministry experience is a cycle of paradox, juxtaposition, and contrast. There are valleys but there are mountaintops. While there are trials, there are also triumphs. While there is bad news, there is also good news. There is adversity but there is victory. There are times of perplexity but there also times of tranquility. There are positive and negatives. 

The church is not exempted from going through periods of mountaintops and valleys. It has gone through trials and triumphs. The church has not overcome all adversaries. The perplexing times are not over. There are hurts but hopes are high.
Regardless of the situation, life and ministry must go on. The challenges are huge and the needs are many. The task is great but the vision is clear. The larger the vision the greater the need for teamwork.

Tough leadership decision has to be made and ministry must go on. Leadership is tougher than we think. One leadership problem that I observed is that we try to manage people instead of leading them. "Manage things. Lead people" is a quote I have in my file.

While we struggle to solve conflicts, lost people slip into eternal darkness. God's purpose for reaching out to the lost world is sacrificed upon the altar of our internal church conflict. Our act of generosity is placed on the altar of stewardship making our giving limited in the facade of being a good steward of God's resources.