listening to build trustListening to build trust: In ministry, we are inevitably dealing with people that have differences: different perspectives, different priorities, different directions. The default for most of us is to convince people of the rightness of our view. We get into a position of pushing our perspective on others and increase the felt sense of being at odds with people. The situation has become a matter of each person pushing their own agenda or opinion.

Here’s one of the strategies I suggest using next time someone comes to you with a difference of opinion on something. Use the discovery listening process: actively listening, summarizing what you’re hearing them say without evaluating or interpreting, and inviting them to say more until they’ve said everything until you’ve verbalized it back to them to their satisfaction. In this way, you can go through the process of listening in a non-defensive way to let people know they’ve truly been heard.

You’ll find in many cases that simply engaging in this process meets the need. Sometimes people just need to be heard. In other cases, listening leads to a simple response. Maybe it’s recognizing and acknowledging a wound by a person who is no longer part of the church. Sometimes just listening alone takes care of the issue and builds trust. Or it can lead to further conversation. The first and primary goal is understanding.

Do you find yourself in a setting where you are trying to create renewal and positive change? By listening to build trust and credibility, you may find yourself gaining traction more easily. Learn more here.