Pastor Church Resources has been helping churches and pastors to be more trusting of and trustworthy for one another for a long time—it will be 40 years in 2022! And we've found, over and over again, that the art of listening lies at the center of both of those trust activities.
Imagine this: You’ve just shared with a group of your friends that you struggle with your weight. Or that you depend too much on peoples’ approval. Or that you don’t want to go back home because of what you will face there.
You’re not joking. You’re not even smiling. You’ve brought something up from deep inside your life and there it is, on the table, for everyone to see. Now you wonder: How will they respond? What will they say? Was I a fool to trust them?
Trust is central to having a great team, a happy family, a well-functioning community. When it is not there, you know it. People are reluctant to voice their opinions. Or they shout their opinions. When trust is not there, people are always merely nice to one another. Or they are always intentionally distant from one another. They talk about one another rather than with one another. They stop listening.
When trust is there, on the other hand, people share hard things in addition to fun things. They feel free to voice disagreement. They value one another over the positions that people hold. They find ways to grow closer.
Let’s go back to your circle of friends, the people who have just seen you bring something up from the depths of your life and put it on the table before them. If they simply look on in silence, if they fail to offer something of themselves in return for what you have offered them, then it might be a long time before you try this again. It might be a long time before anyone tries it. And if someone snickers, or begins picking your words apart, or somehow questions their value, you’ve learned something you won’t soon forget: This circle is not safe. The others in the circle will have learned that too.
On the other hand, everyone wins if those around the table affirm the value and worth of what you’ve shared and, especially when there is disagreement, if they confirm the value of you, the sharer. You will know that it will be safe to do something like this again. And everyone around the table will know that it will be safe for them too.
Among the reasons that Pastor Church Resources exists is this one: We help pastors, congregations, and church leaders to be trustworthy and trusting in these ways and more. In other words, we help people listen to one another deeply, in ways that close distances rather than increase them. We want to see people express their thoughts with grace and truth, in ways that invite conversation rather than contempt.
PCR has been doing this for a while now. In fact, we’ll be celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2022! What started with one pastor, Rev. Louis Tamminga, in 1982, continues today with a staff of ten resource people. Our mission is to help people work for the flourishing of one another in the church. Often it is as simple as helping them to listen, like a circle of friends around a table of sharing.
We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead.