Do you practice writing in a journal daily? I didn’t for a long time, but this past year I’ve committed to keeping a daily journal. I even purchased a shrunken bison leather journal from the Holtz leather company in Birmingham, AL., and had them monogram it with my initials. I wanted to give myself a gift that I would use – not one that I’d lay aside after a month or two of journaling. So far it’s working!
I carry the journal with me, and I use it to record all kinds of things that take place daily, including important things I hear. I used it for that a few days ago during during an event where I was speaking.
This past weekend I heard a friend in ministry, Andy Roberson, from South Main Baptist Church in Greenwood, SC., say something during a training event (he had me come and lead a retreat for his group leaders); he said something that I thought was profound when he spoke to his leaders at one point during the day-long training time.
“You need to have three kinds of ears to hear,” Andy told his group leaders. Let me expand a bit on what Andy said and what that means to us who are in leadership over groups:
- Ears to hear from God. God is a person who speaks. The Bible opens with Him speaking the world into existence. God spoke to His people throughout the Old Testament. Hebrews 1:1-2 states that God has spoken “at various times and various ways, but in these final days he has spoken to us by his Son.” God is a communicator, and if we pray, read and meditate on His Word, and remain in a posture where we expect to hear from Him, we will. We must first and foremost hear from our Heavenly Father.
- Ears to hear from your group leader. As a group leader, I want God to use me to communicate truth to His people. When I teach and lead my Bible study group, I expect God to use me to help them see something fresh in His Word, something that He will use to speak to each of them. It’s good and acceptable to remind those we teach that God uses us (group leaders) to help them discover the beauty of the written Word and the fact that God has given it to us so we can know Him and know His will. Group members often hear from God as they listen to us.
- Ears to hear from one another. This is the point that caught my attention and reminded me of a quote that I had shared this past year during a training webinar: “For me, the most rewarding discussions happen when class members respond to one another’s comments rather than just to mine. As learners interact with one another, and I am able to drive into the background for a few minutes, this is when really important learning takes place, because the group members are learning from one another” (Teaching Adults: A Practical Guide for New Teaches by Ralph Brockett, p80). The author, Ralph Brockett, helps us realize that group leaders don’t have an exclusive lock on the teaching and learning that takes place in a group! Often times we may wrongly believe that we (the group leader) must do the majority of the speaking; Brockett reminds us that God uses the people in the group, their backgrounds and life experiences, to minister to one another and to help one another grow as disciples as they talk to one another.
If you lead an ongoing Bible study group, encourage your people to hear from one another – they have a lot to say, and God has a lot to say through them!