“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway

My grandmother is an excellent listener. She could sit for hours listening to you talk. She says very little in response, but you know that she values what you have to say. When she does speak, you listen, because of how valued she’s made you feel. You see, my grandmother has something very important to teach us who lead others in the church. I’d like to break it down for us in three simple steps.

  • Lean In
  • Listen
  • Learn

Many of us work with a plethora of volunteers or oversee staff. Until we grow to be good listeners who really learn how to lean in, listen and learn, we will never grow to be someone the people we are leading trust.

Trust is established when we share space with someone and we welcome them into ours. The best way to share space with someone else, is to hear their story. Share on X

As you do this, you join not just the gifts that you both bring to the ministry, but your hearts. This is key if you want to grow and keep good leaders. 

We must learn how to follow these three simple steps, that my grandmother modeled to me if we want to grow as leaders.

Lean In

This means we must be willing to sit down and schedule time to be present with people. It could look as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee, a bite to eat or meeting at the church. If we don’t practice this step, the only time we’ll call people to talk is when there’s a problem and who looks forward to that kind of relationship with one of their leaders? Not me.  


The phone, your emails, that pressing deadline you have, all of them seem urgent. But…

…if we do not listen to people when they have our ear, we will automatically send them the message that says, “I honestly, don’t really care that much about you as a person, because all of these other things are more important.” Share on X

The more trust you build with people, the greater return you’ll have for your work, because more people will be behind you, so that email and that text message, unless it’s your mom calling for more oxygen, it can probably wait. 


The best kind of leaders have captured the art of becoming top of the line learners. They understand that even those under them have something to teach them. Until we start treating people with this kind of value, the sharpest folks will find other places to use their giftings. They’ll land in a ministry where they feel valued, heard and employed. 

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