By: Kevin Becht

“People Listen to People Who Listen.” If you have attended any 3Story training at all, you have heard that phrase. It is used often because it is very true. Here are a few refreshers on what it means to listen well:

Listen without an Agenda. If a student believes we are listening because we have an agenda, they may stop trusting us. Listening well means listening in order to love. It does not mean we are listening to convert them. God is the One drawing others to Himself. In a 3Story Way of Life, the purpose of listening is to love and to build relationships, not to gather information and not to convert. Now that really takes the pressure off of us.

Listen to Body Language.  Our body language can say a lot about us when we are in conversations with others. So can the body language of students when we meet with them in appointments. Watch for signs of whether they are opening up or closing themselves off. 

Listen to Words. It may seem like a simple task, but as you are listening in your appointment, listen to the choice of words and the tone of voice. Are they using “big words” to convey a message of looking like someone or something they are not? Or are they being real, presenting themselves as they really are?

Listen to Their Heart. Several years ago, as I was talking with a friend, he used the phrase, “Hear my heart, not my words.” He wasn’t sure he was going to use the right words to convey his heart that day. It is a phrase that stayed with me and that I have used many times since that day. Often, the words that are used don’t truly convey the heart of the individual sharing them. In your appointment, listen carefully to their heart.

Listen to the Holy Spirit. Most of my favorite card games involve a trump suit. If you aren’t aware of what this means, it simply means that a particular suit is set that trumps all other suits. In the ‘game of listening,’ the voice of God through His Holy Spirit is trump. Be sure to keep the ears of your own heart tuned into His voice as you listen to young people.

As spring break trips and the final stretch of the school year draw near, there will be plenty of opportunities to put these suggestions into practice. Listening in these ways will allow us to make deeper connections with students when we meet for appointments.

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