This past week (Aug 7-15) I've been in So Nevada speaking at 3 different churches. In the process I remembered a somewhat ironic thing about pastoring. Pastor's are known for teaching, and so, talking a lot. But the reality is that in working with people and doing ministry, you have to be ready to do a lot of listening. Sometimes the listening part is much greater than the speaking part.
People are the number one priority when it comes to pastoral ministry. After all, if there are no people, there's no church to gather! And most people have stories of their own, their life stories, but too often no one will listen. When it comes to personal evangelism, hearing other people's stories (that is being willing to listen) often brings the opportunity to share our own story (our testimony), and the best story of all, God's story.
We see this with Jesus when He was a young man in the Temple in Luke 2:46. It says He was both listening and asking questions. There are several other places in the Gospel where we see Jesus listening and asking questions before actually teaching or responding to a situation with the truth. Listening is often an important part of ministry, even the part where we do end up speaking.