Archives For Leadership

A father’s intentionality in spiritual matters can make the difference in the spiritual trajectory of their kids and their wives.  A father’s strong and authentic commitment to his relationship with the Lord is most often a pivotal factor in his family’s spiritual development.

Spiritually Lead Your Family

Spiritually Lead Your Family

I read of a study that found when dads are the first in their families to become Christians there is a 93% probability that the others in the family will follow.  If the mom is the first, the probability drops to 17%.  If it is the child who first becomes a believer, the chance of the rest of the family following the child’s direction is only 3.5%.

Dads have tremendous influence on the direction of the family.

Now I am not going to venture to explain why the above stats are true.  But I will say I have seen this displayed over and over in my years of ministry.  For whatever reason, God has given fathers enormous influence in the lives of their wives and children.  That influence can have the power to do great good or great harm.

A father who is intentional about his own spiritual commitment and who takes responsibility for leading his family in the ways of Christ can have amazing power to inspire his family to live for the Lord.  On the other hand, a dad who is spiritual unengaged, absent, or antagonistic to the things of God more often than not is successful at pulling his family from consistent practice of their faith.

In my congregation, I have men for whom their walk with God is primary.  They see their role in the family to be one of spiritual leadership.  They have realized that they must lead by example, so they put their pursuit of God first.  They love their families, pray for their families, and bring their families to church (not once in a while, but each week).  These men are not perfect, they make mistakes, but their commitment is where it needs to be and they have enormously positive influence on their families.

But I also see men who are not engaged spiritually.  When I do, I often see wives that are frustrated, daughters who are grieved, and sons who are spiritually indifferent.  It hurts my heart to witness.

This Sunday is Father’s Day.  On Mother’s Day our attendance spikes.  But usually on Father’s Day attendance noticeably dips.  When I see this my heart breaks.

You see I dream of the day when on Father’s Day dads everywhere bring their spouses and children to church.  They see their spiritual role elevated and rise to the occasion to lead their families in the ways of Christ.

The day we see Fathers throughout the church zealously stepping into their role of spiritual leadership is the day when we will see the church shift into high gear revival.  It will be the day when the spiritual reclamation of our nation will begin.

Dads we have incredible influence to wield.  We can use it for the Lord and the spiritual prosperity of our families, or we can focus it on ourselves leaving a wake of spiritual apathy behind us.  It is our choice.

Don’t you want your life to count for God?  Don’t you want to lead your children and inspire your wives to have a vision for living in God’s destiny?

Then make the commitment to lead them.  How?  It is not complex.


  1. Devote yourself fully and completely to Christ.  Be all in!  Grow in your acceptance of God’s grace, surrender to his commands, and choose to love God with all of your being.
  2. Commit to fundamental spiritual disciplines.  Personal Bible Study, daily prayer, Church attendance, faithful service, witnessing to others about your faith all contribute to a growing relationship with God.  You need this to spiritually develop and your family needs to see this to be inspired by your example.
  3. Be committed to do what is right, but be honest when you fail.  Devote yourself to following God with precision and consistency.  But listen.  We all screw up!  I do and so do you.  So we need to be honest.  Hypocrisy has no place in spiritual leadership, but authenticity does.  You don’t have to be perfect to be a great father, but you do have to be honest.
  4. Lovingly lead your family to join you in your spiritual journey.  Pray with your family, not just for them.  Lead your family in discussions of the Lord.  And this one is so simple, but so powerfulbring your family to church.  Some are in the habit of saying that church going is not that important.  “We believe.  It is not necessary that we go to church.”  But you cannot adequately follow Christ without being connected to his body.  Read your New Testament.  The Christian faith was never disconnected from the experience of Christian community.  There are spiritual things that will never happen for you or your family if you are not vitally connected to the people of God.

Dads let’s wield our influence for Christ.  Let’s make the difference!

Question:  What are practical ways dads can inspire their families in the ways of the Lord?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I am a white male.  For centuries most of America was viewed, imagined, and projected through eyes like mine.  But that is changing and changing fast.  Population demographics are in transition and America is looking different.  Because of this the church must view race and culture differently if we are going to bring the gospel to the culture in relevant ways.

Diverse in Culture, Unified in Christ

Diverse in Culture, Unified in Christ

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the U.S. is quickly changing into a plurality population.

Consider this…

The census projects that by 2043 “Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, Black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander will together outnumber non-Hispanic whites.”[1]

In just ten years, in 2024, the non-Hispanic white population will hit its peak at 199.6 million.  After that the population of that demographic will begin to gradually decline.[2]

Minorities currently make up 37% of the population, but by 2060 that category will reach 57%.[3]

The fact is that the complexion of our world has been noticeably changing for some time and those changes will continue.  So what does this mean for the church, particularly the white church?

It means we need to stop seeing churches as white, or black, or Asian, or Arab.  We are going to need to see the church through the eyes of the gospel and not the eyes of race and culture.  Jesus died for man.  Not just our slice of the demographic.

He died for the sins of all men who descended from Adam.  Why else would Christ say that we were to preach this gospel to “all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)

And this is important.  For a long time white church goers have been very warm to the idea of taking the gospel to people of different races and different nations.  This has been a high value in the evangelical church.  Reaching people from the other side of town or the other side of the pond has been our accepted mission.  But that often is where the mission ended.

Most white church goers never imagined that those people reached with the gospel would actually go to church with them.  Oh sure they figured some would, but not in large proportion.  But this perspective must change in many places if we are going to relevantly reach our communities for Christ in the future.

It used to be that we would try to reach a community by reflecting the nature of that community in our church.  That more often than not cut along racial and cultural lines.  It made sense and was based on a principle called the homogeneous unit principle.

But now, in many places this is changing, for the community itself is becoming significantly more diverse.  The principle is still somewhat sound, but now to reflect that principle the church itself must become more racially and culturally diverse.

The local church I lead has been in such a transition for years.  About 20-25% of our congregational attendance consists of Hispanics, Burmese, and Karen peoples.  We are beginning to reflect the future direction of our culture.

Of course, right now these minority cultures hold their own services in our church.  We have five worship services in 4 different languages each Sunday.  Language and cultural differences still divide us in many ways.  But this will change in just a generation or two.

When the younger generations of these immigrants are educated in English and begin to assimilate into Western culture those ties to their cultural distinctives will weaken.  When that happens we will need to become more integrated in our church experience.

In the mean time it will be important that we begin crossing those cultural barriers as a congregation as fast as we can.  We need to view each other as brothers and sisters who are one in Christ.  We need to love each other in word and deed, not just in principle.

In the future, God will reach diverse communities through churches where the members have embraced one another’s cultural diversity while at the same time finding unparalleled unity in the gospel.

There are amazing days ahead for the church.  They won’t be easy, but they promise amazing opportunities for the relationally adventurous.  We will have to stretch ourselves and step out of our comfort zones.  But the opportunity to see our church and community through God’s eyes rather than the eyes of our provincial culture is so worth the risk.

Questions for Discussion:  What is it about this future that excites you?  What about it frightens you?  Do you have ideas for how churches can embrace the diversity of cultures in their communities?  Do you have ideas on how brothers and sisters in Christ from differing cultures can bridge relational gaps and find greater unity in their mutual love for Jesus?  Enter the dialogue and You can leave a comment by clicking here.

[1] “Urban Now:  North America’s Growing Urbanization Impacts Church Planting,” Joe Conway, On Mission Magazine, North American Mission Board, SBC, Volume 17, Number 2, p. 31.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Fast Forward is a marvelous function on your DVD or DVR remote.  Push it and you can skip to the future of a story to see what happens before you have to live through the story.

Push Fast Forward

Push Fast Forward

If you want to see how the movie ends without going through all the drama, just Fast Forward.  Did you record the game, but you don’t want to spend the time watching the whole thing?  Just push Fast Forward and skip to the score.

Wise people use a kind of Fast Forward function in their minds to make wise decisions.  What do I mean?

Wise people use their logic and forethought to judge the wisdom of a decision by pushing Fast Forward and determining the logical outcome their decision will have in the future.  After all, we should all know that we are continually living out the consequences of our past decisions.

Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.”

Some of those consequences are the product of wise decisions and are blessings.  Others are painful and the product of decisions you wish you hadn’t made.

Mark Twain wrote, “The man that sets out to carry a cat by its’ tail learns something that will always be useful and which will never grow dim or doubtful.”

Wisdom is thinking through the decisions of today with a forward view to that decision’s probable outcome.

Norman Cousins said, “Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences.”

It really is that simple.

Here is the point of this post…

When you are faced with a choice, be wise, push Fast Forward and consider the eventual outcomes of such a choice.  Then heed the warnings and make the wise decision.

This is most often how wisdom is attained…Pushing Fast Forward.

Proverbs 2:4 says we should search for wisdom “as for hidden treasure.”  Pushing Fast Forward is important.

When you are considering sharing that constructive criticism about the dress your wife is wearing…push Fast Forward.   Consider the logical outcome of your critique.

When you are considering the job you will pursue or the person you wish to marry, push Fast Forward.

When you are considering the time your kids devote to sports in ways that interfere with their participation in church, push Fast Forward.  What ultimate impact will your decisions have on their faith, on their commitment to the things of God, on their own commitment to church and even on how they will likely rear your grandchildren?

When you consider a financial purchase, push Fast Forward.  You won’t regret doing so.

When you are tempted to sin, push Fast Forward.  Is it not going to bring more harm than good?

What decisions are before you today?  Spend some time pushing the Fast Forward button in your brain and think through the future implications of the choices you could make.  Then make the wise choice.

Question:  What are suggestions you have for thinking ahead when faced with a choice?  Share them with us.  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Yesterday I dropped off my oldest daughter at the airport to catch a flight to South America for a month long mission.  She will be working at a couple of orphanages, a school, and will prepare for a team from our church to join her the last week of her mission.  She will share the gospel and care for people in need.  I am proud of her and have confidence that she will do well.

Sending My Daughter On Mission

Sending My Daughter On Mission

When she was still in the womb my wife and I would pray for the daughter that would be born to us.  There is one prayer we prayed over and over again…

Oh, Lord, give her a love for the things of God!

There are many things for which I have prayed and not received the answer that I had hoped.  But this prayer has been answered many times in my daughter’s life and I am so thankful.

There is nothing I could want more than for my child to love the Lord.  Nothing!

That prayer shaped how we parented our girl and our other children as well.  We realized that we had to be a part of the answer to our petition.

We realized for our daughter to love the things of God we had to love the things of God as well.  Our affection for God had to lead us to love prayer, love the Scriptures, love the Church, love serving others, love giving, and love taking the gospel to all manner of people.

We certainly were not perfect in our example, but we were genuine.  Our kids saw us love God’s people, love and give to others, and saw us travel the world on occasion to share the gospel.

We prayed with and for our children, talked about God and prayed for people who did not yet know the love of Christ.  They caught the vision to do the same.

We realized that we could not afford to compartmentalize our faith at church.  We had observed many who lived out their relationship with God in the church house, but then said little about the Lord at their house.  We realized that God would have to be the central figure and most important Person of our home.

Don’t get me wrong!  We have made a boatload of mistakes.  We have failed miserably over and over.

But somehow through it all our kids caught the vision for themselves.  This was driven home for me once again as I gave my eldest child one last hug before sending her off to another country.

What is going to change the world?  A generation that loves the things of God.

Let’s pray for them this way, but most of all let’s live this out before them.

Question:  What are ways we can live out our faith before our children?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Yesterday in church I led my congregation in a minute of silence in memory of all those men and women who died in military service to our country.  Often I have thought that pausing in silence to remember a fallen individual was a rather lame way to show respect.  After all shouldn’t we do so much more?  But I have changed my mind.

Pause to Remember

Pause to Remember

As I led us to be silent for an entire minute, I felt the power of the moment.  I really thought about the hundreds of thousands of our Americans who died on the battlefield defending our country’s freedom.  I thought about the gravity of that sacrifice.  Of course there is the gravity of the sheer numbers of people, but even more than that it is the gravity of even just one of those lives lost for a country.

Those men and women actually fought for us and then they were shot or wounded in some way that caused them to breathe their last.  For some it all came in an instant…a blast and then eternity.  For others the wound was such that their death came slow.  They were able to think about what they were losing and why.

These men and women were giving up years of their lives on those battlefields.  They would never again hold spouses, play with their children, walk their daughters down the aisle, and so much more.  They did that for you and they did that for me.

I thought about all of that in that brief minute in church.  That is when I changed my mind.  Pausing for a minute of silence was powerful.  Very powerful.  I really did remember, gratefully remember.

So today, would you do just that?  Stop, even if for only a minute and think about what was done for you.  Really think about it.  Don’t just think about the hundreds of thousands of soldiers over the centuries.  Think about that one soldier and what he or she surrendered fighting for you and your way of life.  Think about how personal it was for them.

And then pause again, for another minute and remember what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us on the cross that day.  Soldiers died that we might have an American way of life.  Jesus died so that we might have life eternal, the Heavenly life.

Let’s remember.

Question:  Do you know someone who gave their life for our country?  Tell us their name and something about them.  Let us remember them together.  You can leave a comment by clicking here.


I have been blogging for about four months now.  I have published 46 posts so far.  I am grateful for hundreds of you who have become consistent readers.  You have been reading what I write, but now I want to hear from you.

I want to hear from YOU!

I want to hear from YOU!

So far I have written on subjects concerning the nature of God, how to follow and serve the Lord, as well as posts on family and leadership.

I have written on things that matter to me, but I would like to know what matters most to you.

Would you help me by giving me feedback?

What are the subjects that you most enjoy reading about and what are the kinds of posts you find most helpful…posts on the nature of God, personal discipleship, family, or leadership?

I want to know what helps you the most.

I would also like to know what questions you have about faith in Christ.  What are spiritual problems for which you would like scriptural answers?  Or maybe they are simply problems you face in everyday life and you would like to know how God’s Word can give you the guidance you need.

I want to hear from you so that I can focus my writing in ways that add greater value to your life.

I never set out to blog just to see my thoughts published.  I became a blogger so I could help you.

Help me help you.  How?  Simple, just let me know what subjects you most enjoy reading about and what questions you might like to see answered.  Maybe there is a subject that you have not seen me address that you would like to see me write on.  Let me know what that is.

So here is what I would like you to do.  Leave a comment to this post letting me know the kinds of things that you find most helpful on  Then let me know what you would like to see me write about in the future.  Share questions or topics you would like to see me address.

I might not be able to address every suggested topic, but I hope to address many and I want to hear from you.

Seriously, I want to hear from you!  You can leave a comment by clicking here.



Today is Mother’s Day.  To all of you who are moms, thank you for all you do.  You might not always feel like what you do makes a difference.  But it does.  Your job is of uttermost importance.  You build up lives and launch futures.

Me and My Mom

Me and My Mom

When you pour out your life into your child, you are making an investment that will pay dividends generations from now.

I think of the things my Mom invested in me.  Those things shaped me and gave me the inner resource to build a life worth living, a life that makes a difference to others.

What did my Mom give me?  She gave me…

  1. Her loving, caring presence in my most formative years.  Mom stayed at home and gave me a very nurtured childhood.  She was one who fought for women’s lib and for females to have the freedom to pursue careers in the 1960’s.  But when faced with the choice to work or stay home with her sons, she chose her sons.  We were her career and that made all the difference.  When I think back to my youngest years, my memories paint a picture of an ideal American childhood.  Those early years under the constant nurture of my mother gave me an inner security on which I could never place a price tag.  Not every mother has the opportunity to stay at home.  Many must work and should never feel guilty for doing so.  None-the-less, I am grateful to have had my mom with me throughout each day.
  2. Faith to believe that what I wanted to do and was gifted to do I could do.  Mom believed in me.  She told me this continually.  She expressed great pride in me every time I did something that displayed some measure of ability.  I never wondered if my mom thought I could achieve something.  She was there at critical moments to express her confidence that I could to it.  I don’t think I realized how important this was until I grew up and started to achieve things that really mattered.  When I analyzed what made those achievements possible, my mind would journey back to things she had told me when I was younger.  Thanks Mom for believing in me!
  3. A kick in the rear when I needed to be encouraged to try something new and engage in an adventure.  I am more adventuresome now, but when I was a child I was resistant to trying new things.  I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old my mom encouraging me to take a community drama class.  I refused.  I was scared of meeting new kids and being in front of others.  We went round and round.  In the end, she just said, “you are going to do it!”  That experience was amazing.  I got to act a little, and though I was not very good, I gained a new confidence about being in front of people.  Now look at me.  I get up and engage crowds each week.  Thanks Mom for seeing the potential when I was not very cooperative.
  4. An inspiring example of how to rise above painful circumstances.  In my late teens, my mother and father got a divorce.  It was gut-wrenching for us all.  But especially for mom.  The pain for her was soul crushing.  I am not saying that she always handled it well.  But come on!  Who could expect anyone to handle such a thing perfectly?  Yet, I saw her forge a journey of self-reflection and healing that helped her rise above the pain and build a beautiful life.  That taught me.  I learned how life’s greatest crisis provides every person with an opportunity to choose to get bitter or to get better.  She chose to get better and that gave me strength.
  5. Loads of encouragement throughout every phase of my life.  My mom has the gift of encouragement.  She has granted me her loving blessing at every phase of my life.  Since I became an adult, she has let me live my life without offering much of her own direction.  But she has been generous with her praise and encouragement.  That was vital to me when I was young.  It gave me courage and confidence.  But it is still such a soul strengthening blessing even now that I am in my later forties.  It just feels good when you know your mom is proud of you, even when you are all grown up.  Thanks Mom!

Now listen, my mom is far from perfect.  But so am I and so are you.  Yet, one thing is for certain.  I have been given so much from her love and presence in my life.

What about you?  Maybe your mom is not perfect either, but what are those things that she gave you that made you who you are?  Today, let’s thank God for those things and celebrate motherhood.

Question:  What things did your mom do for you that helped to launch your life in positive ways?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I grew up a middle class white boy who never himself suffered racial injustice.  I grew up in the context of desegregation efforts in the school system in Louisville, KY, but I did not know the real struggle in my own personal experience.

Memorial of Martin Luther King Jr.

Memorial of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today I visited the memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. with my youngest son.  Seeing that memorial made me think of the ways my life and view of the world have been shaped by this man and the movement he represented.

I grew up in the generation just following King’s life.  I was born in February 1968 and was only 6 weeks old when King was martyred on April 4th.  I never had the privilege of seeing him for myself or even joining my efforts in his movement.  And yet my world view would be shaped by his words.

My mother and my mother’s family always sympathized with the Civil Rights movement.  And it was my mother and father who refused to let me look through racial lenses on the world.

It was fourth grade and I was playing on the playground with Robin, one of my very best friends at Montrose Elementary School in Bexley, Ohio.  To my memory, Robin was the only African American girl in our grade, if not in the entire school.  She had played at my house and I had played at hers.

My parents had wanted to see King’s vision (spoken only a little over a decade before) of a nation “transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.”

That vision was being fulfilled in a new generation on that playground that day.

But I will never forget the jarring moment when our play was interrupted as a white boy approached my friend and called her the “N” word.  I can still remember the nauseous and confusing fear I felt in my stomach and the tear I felt in my eye.  It was my Mom later that day that would help me process that racial moment as she spoke out of the well-spring of King’s vision that she had heard just 5 years before I was born.

I always remember our family recognizing the important place King’s leadership played in forming our nation’s conscience.  I was perhaps between the ages of 12 and 15 when my Uncle Mike took me to the Philadelphia airport to put me on a plane back home after a visit I had made to family.  We were walking through the airport when he pulled me behind a pillar and pointed hastily toward a motorized passenger vehicle carrying a lone stately looking African American woman and said “Greg, look that is Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow.”  Wow!  That was a moment.  I had seen someone, whose husband had helped shape the cultural conscience of the Nation.

King stood, most specifically, for the racial equality of African Americans, but called upon the founding principles of this nation that would help us work to tear down prejudicial walls for all races.

King said, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.  This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

King spoke, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Those words have shaped my generation’s view of the world and view of the ultimate insignificance of the differences in our skin’s color.

We live in a world where we had better get comfortable being inter related with people from all tribes and tongues.

Today I thought, “Here I am, standing in front of the monument of a man who fought for racial equality, with my son, my adopted son from a different race.  My skin and his are different, but we live in a world where it is now very much acceptable for me to be his dad and him my boy.  Thank you Dr. King and so many others who fought for us to view race thru eyes of love.

Question:  How have the words of King impacted you and your view of the world?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

This week my wife and youngest son visited my dad who is suffering from cancer.  Because of the nature and stage of his disease we know that his time is limited.  These moments we spend make me think of the things he has given me throughout his life.

Gifts From A Father

Gifts From A Father

I am grateful for these things, things you look for a dad to give.

He gave me…

1. The confidence that I could achieve.  Like my mother, my father always expressed belief that I could achieve whatever I had aspiration to pursue.  He believed I could do great things and affirmed me along the way.

2. The support I needed in beginning my journey in life.  It was true that my dad was a workaholic.  That is one trait I adopted as well.  It doesn’t always work for you (certainly hasn’t always worked for me).  It is true that dad’s workaholic tendency caused me some loss.  But there is a flip side to this that also shouldn’t be ignored.

He provided.  He worked hard, but he made a good living for me when I was young.  We had a nice safe home, never lacked a meal, had the things we needed, and a few special extras.  He supported me as best as he was able when I went through college.  He helped me get a good start.

Sometimes dads can get a bad rap for over working and neglecting the family.  And to be sure, that can be a real issue.  You need to be with your family and kids.  But in emphasizing this point, let’s not bash the dad that is earning the bucks to better his family and children’s future.

3. Approval along the way.  I guess I have always hungered for his approval.  A lot of people hunger for such fatherly approval and don’t receive it.  I did receive it and I am thankful.  Throughout my childhood, and now for nearly 30 years of adulthood, he has listened to me and expressed his pride whenever I would call him up and tell of my latest achievements.  I have received my father’s approval and I am unmistakably grateful.

4. A clear sense when he expected me to be a man.  I’ll never forget it.  I was in my sophomore year of college, engaged to my wife, eager to get married and be an adult.  He told me that he was committed to help me financially, as best he could.  He said he would give me support until I graduated from college or I got married, whichever came first.  Then he said I must finish college in four years.  He made it crystal clear that by the age of 22, or earlier if I chose to get married before, he considered me a man.  And being a man he expected me to support myself.  That clarity gave me a deep sense of personal responsibility.  I knew when I was expected to be my own man and stand on my own feet.  Many parents today do a poor job of setting up this expectation of responsibility and their children fail to know when they are adults.  I didn’t have that confusion because my dad clearly told me when I must be a man.

5. An example of how to face death with courage.  With his cancer, my dad is not expected to have much time.  I have watched him these last two years physically suffer horrific pain.  But at the same time I have watched him live life with gratitude and grace.  He has set a standard for me.  If I someday can see my death approaching, I will have my dad’s example in the front of my mind.  I will want to have his same positive outlook and courage.

Don’t get me wrong.  My dad isn’t perfect.  I guess I could even make a list of things that have disappointed me over the years.  But I don’t care about any of that.  I see what he gave me and I am grateful.  Absolutely grateful.

Question:  Is there something that someone you love has given to you for which you are grateful?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Ok, how would you like to see your skills in communication dramatically improve…TODAY!  The simplest step you can take is to improve your ability to listen.

Listening Skills

Listening Skills

When you increase your listening capacity, you increase your ability to understand.  When you increase your ability to understand, communication becomes a lot easier.

James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  God gave you two ears but only one mouth, because he wants you to listen twice as much as you talk.  That statement carries with it much wisdom.  No doubt we would be less likely to spark off in anger in our relationships if we would take the time to listen to what others are trying to get across.

So how can you immediately improve your listening ability?  Easy!  Avoid listening limiters and develop your listening disciplines.

So what are listening limiters that you should avoid?

  1. Making assumptions.  Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening—that is his folly and shame.”  Often we observe something or hear what someone says in a certain way and then we jump to conclusions.  “Oh she is just mad at me because I am late.”  Well maybe she is, but maybe it has nothing to do with you.  You don’t really know until she tells you.
  2. Displaying impatience.  It takes time to communicate.  It is not something that is easily rushed.  Especially in family life.  Impatience can drive you to draw assumptions too quickly.  It also is disrespectful.  People with whom you are communicating want to sense that you care enough to really understand them.  That takes time and time takes patience.  Cut out the time you need patiently listen.
  3. Exhibiting pride.  Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”  Many of us are more concerned with looking smart rather than being smart.  If we are really going to listen we must put aside pride and assume we can learn from others.  You can learn from every encounter and from every person.  Pride will always frustrate communication.

Ok.  If those are tendencies to avoid, what are the skills you should develop?

  1. Focus on more than mere words.  Communication involves so much more than mere words.  Most experts will tell you that words only convey about 7% of our communication.  Voice tone actually comprises a whopping 55% of our communication clues and the last 38% comes from our body language.  What does this mean for you?  It means if you want to listen better you must do more than listen to words.  You have to listen to voice tone and pay attention to body language.  That means that the most important relationships in your life need to be nurtured in person.  Face to face is necessary for the deepest of intimacy to be developed between persons.
  2. Practice engaged listening.  What does that mean?  Simple, it means you lean into the conversation.  You tune everything else out and you give someone your undivided attention.  Now is not the time to text or watch the ballgame.  Now is the time to look them in the eye, lean forward and listen closely.  This conveys respect and greatly heightens your sensory acuity.
  3. Make detailed observations before drawing conclusions.  Really look at what they are saying, how they are saying it, and how they carry their body.  Take in all the clues.  Then when you draw a conclusion, tell them what you think they are saying and have them confirm if you are correct.

Do these simple things and you will be amazed at how much easier it can be to understand other people in your life.  In addition, they will notice that you cared enough to really be attentive.  That wins relational points and makes you more effective in the lives of people.

Question:  What are tips you can share that can improve our ability to listen and understand the people in our lives?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.