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Friday, January 24, 2014

Listening

I recently wrote an article about my experience writing Like Mind, my first novel. The whole idea of the article was about the collaboration of storytelling that exists between authors and their audience.
We readers and writers must work together. It’s our art form, not just the writers’ alone. Together you and I make something that neither of us could make on our own. Together we tell stories.
That same dynamic is at work in all public speaking, especially in preaching. You don't simply speak words into the void and have them fall on unsuspecting ears. Rather you work together with a community of God's people to discern God's word and work in his world.

If I, as a preacher, am not listening to the church and the word, I've failed at my task.

That's a bold statement, so bold that I'm not sure I'm willing to apply it to anyone but myself. But it fully applies to me. I cannot, in good conscience, speak to God's people without listening to them.

I've preached at churches as a guest speaker before. That's been fun, and a good experience, but I'm still trying to discern what it is that the community is saying and what they need to hear.

I suppose I see my role as a translator. I listen to both God and his people and I try to mediate the conversation while at the same time getting out of the way. I can't help either side of the dialog if I don't listen attentively.

1 comment:

remotepossibilities said...

Interesting thoughts. Mediating the conversation while staying out of the way sounds like a very hard balance to strike!

I'm fascinated by storytelling in public speaking, and would love to hear your thoughts on my recent post about it.

By all means leave a link to one of your own posts if you'd like to.