Over the years, we’ve noticed many people come through our church, get radically touched by God, but strangely stopped coming for one reason or another. One reason is that if people don’t have a “safe place” to be real, honest, and transparent, true spiritual transformation will not take place and people will stop growing and eventually stop following God. Openness and transparency with God and others is vitally necessary for spiritual growth. Often our natural fear of being judged and falling short of expectations creates guilt and shame in us that causes us to “cover and hide” rather than to be open and honest. So how do we create safe environments for people to be open, honest, and transparent? How can we help people to feel loved and safe to “come out of hiding” in order to process life and truly experience spiritual transformation? Active Listening is a practical way to create this safe environment in our discipleship and small group settings.
Active Listening: A.I.R.
(Adapted from Betsy A. Barber, PsyD)
We must be “absent from ourselves” to attend to the person. This requires putting aside our own emotions to be present for the other person.
Have an open and receptive posture. People respond to our non-verbal cues far more than our words.
Be mindful of:
Tone of voice
The goal is to make the other person feel safe to share in a judgement free environment.
Inviting and Asking:
Invite the person to share and ask open ended questions to invite them to share further.
Play ignorant, don’t assume anything.
Asking questions demonstrates sincere interest in the person and makes them feel safe to share deeper.
Respectfully ask, Who, What, Where, When, and How questions to stimulate their thinking.
Avoid “why” because they may not know the answer.
Asking questions and listening intently shows empathy and invites people to come out of hiding.
Suspend giving advice or sharing “your experience” or perspective which can make the person feel unsafe.
Once the person has shared fully, we can now respond.
Summarize what you heard them share: Example. “What I heard you say was ____.”
Empathize: Give your best guess or hunch, “I can imagine you must be feeling ____.”
This will help the person to feel heard as well as expose any gaps in communication.
Lead: “What do you think the Lord is trying to say through this?”
The assumption is that the Holy Spirit has already or will speak to the person about what they should do. We are inviting them to listen to His voice. Often, they already know the answer.
Pray: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what He wants to reveal to the person.
Make room for the Holy Spirit to speak and confirm His word to them.
Pair up. Discuss with one another a difficult challenge you faced this past week. As one person is sharing, the other actively faces the and attends to them for 30 seconds. After the 30 seconds, the person listening continues to listen but shifts their body away from the person speaking. Then reverse roles.
· What emotions did you feel when the person listening turned away from you? How did that affect the way you communicated with them?
· In light of the Active Listening points, what area do you need to grow in? What can you do to create environments for transparency in group and discipleship meetings?
· Pray that we would create safe environments for people to come out of hiding.
Main Campus Service Time Change – Starting Sunday, July 7, our College & Young-Adult service will be moving to 7:45pm.
Discipleship Track – This class is designed to lead people to healthy relationships with God and others. It will give you a deeper understanding of the gospel which will transform your life, equip you for ministry in the church and for influence in the world.
JULY 11 - AUGUST 1
Main Campus - Worship Hall
(7:00pm - 9:00pm with Live Teaching & Food)
Childcare fees for children in 6th grade and under for all four weeks:
$20 for one child | $8 for each additional child
No refunds will be given if you are no longer able to attend.
Childcare registration deadline for JULY Discipleship Track - Wednesday, July 3
Pearlside Youth Camp – It’s summertime which means two things: (1) You’re on summer vacation and (2) YOUTH CAMP IS NEAR! This year, we’re having TWO back-to-back camps, one for Middle School and one for High School. Every year, God exceeds our expectations and every student leaves changed and transformed for Christ. So mark your calendars, start saving some money, ask God to prepare your hearts, and we’ll see YOU at camp!
Middle School | July 25-27
Camp Pu`u Kahea Conference Center
High School | July 27-30
Camp Pu`u Kahea Conference Center