By Paula Marolewski
In order to be effective at Christian
discipleship, you have to listen. Remember that listening is an
active verb … a very
active verb, and it takes both effort and practice. You need to
listen both to your partner (the person you are discipling), and
- Listen to what is said. This seems obvious, but sometimes
it is ignored. Listen to what is being told to you. Be willing
to lay aside your own plans for the discussion if your partner
brings up a topic that they obviously need to talk about. Just
as your partner is not a project, your time together should not
be run on a rigid agenda. Listen to what is being said to you,
and respond to it directly and with your whole person.
- Listen for principles. If you are discussing something
going on in your partner’s life, listen for the principle
that is involved and bring that principle to light. For instance,
they may say that they have can’t stand having their father
over for holidays. Rather than just commiserate, probe deeper:
are there underlying issues of bitterness, broken trust, or forgiveness
that need to be addressed?
- Listen to stories and tangents. Your partner may not
know how to bring up a topic that concerns them, or may be nervous
about bringing it up. To compensate, they may tell you a story
or go off on a seeming tangent that alludes to the topic they
really want to address. Listen carefully to stories, and pay attention
to tangents. They may contain the seeds of the life lesson you
need to talk about.
- Listen to what is not said. Finally,
listen for what your partner doesn’t say. Are they avoiding
some topic? Are they uncomfortable about something? Pay attention.
You may be sensing an area of great need or hurt, or an area
of sin that that needs to be confessed. Touch these areas very
carefully, and with great prayer and sensitivity.
As you learn to listen, your skill in Christian discipleship will
increase multifold – and the lives of the people you disciple
will be greatly enriched.
© 2008 Paula Marolewski
Article Source: http://www.sinkyourroots.com
About the Author:
Paula J. Marolewski provides challenging
and interactive adult Bible
studies for individuals,
Bible studies, small groups, and adult Sunday School classes at
Sink Your Roots.
Studies include such topics as Debunking
the Myths about Knowing God's Will. The above article
is an excerpt from Walk
with Me: Being a Faith Partner in the Family of God.