Listening and Seeing
Posted on February 26, 2013
In my previous post I shared what has been disturbing me lately about vision and how we leaders treat it when things look like they are dying in our midst.
So, in light of that, if listening and “seeing” are indespensable in keeping us from falling into selling our people junk food vision, how do we cultivate that in our ministries and lives?
I think, obviously, we need to nurture the deeply spiritual in us. Are we listening to God’s voice in our life? Are we growing in being able to discern his movement in us? But beyond listening to God in the inner places of our life, are we listening to the voice of the people we are meant to be serving too? Are we allowing God to shape our vision of the future by the way reality is impacting the people we lead today? God not only wants to speak to our hearts personally through our time in solitude and prayer, but I think he also wants to speak to us through our relationships. Are we listening to others, especially those most impacted by our decisions? Do we try to understand the world through their experience and let that inform our leadership and direction? And are we listening to voices different than our own, believing that God may desire to use these people to break down our egocentric vision and broaden the horizon that we seek to lead our people towards? How else can we see more and farther if we don’t have the ability to listen to whats right in front of us?
As for seeing, it is true what Sanders says, “Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare.” Are we able to see beyond the status quo of our ministries? Are we able to “see the unseen” so that we don’t just lead people into a future that continues to affirm the way things have always been?
I think every ministy probably has people within it that are natural “seers”. It’s the wiring and gifting of these kinds of people to see what others don’t or don’t see yet. They have their ears to the ground for us, and they are able to interpret the current reality and project how things will look in the future as a result. The problem with “seers” in a ministry is that they tend to not be heard. Because their eyes are seeing something that challenge the dominant perspective of those around them, they are either dismissed or punished for their eyes to see.
Let us lead people into vision with substance by humbly hearing the prophetic voices among us.
So, as leaders, what do we do with “seers” in our ministry? Do we listen to them and allow God to use them in our lives to influence how we lead into the future? Or do we silence them? Killing their prophetic voices because their tone bothers us? Do we view them as gifts in our ministry and as people God has uniquely called to be “seers” among us? Or do we treat them as thorns that we need to rid ourselves of because they speak like prophets speak.
My hope for myself and for other leaders is that we will be deeply attuned to God’s voice and movement in us, and we would also be willing to hear the “seers” among us–not willing to silence their voice for the sake of our own comfortability. Let us lead people into vision with substance by humbly hearing the prophetic voices among us. I believe God will expand our imaginations when we do.
photo courtesy: Maggie Osterberg