Thursday, December 28, 2017

The People are Listeners in the Presence-Driven Church

Listening is the first thing. Before acting, listen. Listen, before you speak. (I explain more in my new book Leading the Presence-Driven Church.)

We celebrated our family Christmas Sunday night with Dan, Allie, Josh, and his friend Nicole. last evening. On Saturday I went out into the snow and cold and bought food for the evening. 

Linda wrote a list. The list is the voice of Linda. At the grocery store, I looked at the list before I put things in the cart. The list came before the purchase. This is how it is with the Presence-Driven Church. First, God speaks. We listen. Then, we obey.

First, hear from God. Then, respond as indicated. In the Presence-Driven Church this is for all the people, not just the pastor. Pastors do this, and show their people how to do this. In the Presence-Driven Church all the people are listening for the voice of God, in counsel and direction.

This is the core. This is not an add-on, something that is OK but peripheral. To learn to listen for God's voice is to discover the mother lode. Without this, we're just holding fool's gold.

Adam McHugh writes:

"Throughout the Bible listening is the central act of the people of God. They are those who are gathered and formed by his voice and held together by his word. They hear his promises and judgments, instructions and warnings, reassurances and exhortations." (McHugh, The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, Kindle Locations 38- 40)

The Hebrew word shema means "listen." This is the first word in the core wisdom of Judaism: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Hear, before you do. This ancient wisdom, when lived and applied, slows things down. The Presence-Driven Church is a slow-cooking, simmering stew of auditory acuteness. In this mixture, disciples are formed, followers are fashioned. "Make disciples," said Jesus. To do that, Slow Church is required.

Pastors - get into God's presence and listen. Teach your people to do the same. Listen to what God is saying to your people, through your people.