Mike, a pastor at the local church we attend, agreed to meet me to talk about small groups, something I've been passionate about for decades. I show him a diagram I have drawn of an approach I find useful. Soon, we are discussing the skills needed to be a good small group discussion leader.
The role is far more than just asking questions, we agree. It calls for alertness to the cues in the group, both verbal and non-verbal. This awareness of the spiritual reality behind the surface discussion takes a lot of practice. We have to train ourselves to notice.
It is the perfect segue into this blog.
I explain the concept to him and, rather than play a noticing game in a fairly empty restaurant, I ask him, “How would being more observant help you in your ministry?”
Without hesitation, he answers, “Everyone has around us has a story, but too often, I’m on task. Being able to really notice would help me to have His heart for people.”
I can relate. I tell him that when traveling, I’m surrounded by strangers. It’s easy to lose that fact: every one of them has a story. It’s hard to see the trees for the forest.
Much like Sunday morning must be for a pastor.
Father, I pray for Mike and other pastors like him – those you have called to care for your people. By your Spirit, help them to be able to truly see those around them. Don’t let the necessary tasks they have to do be a barrier to connecting. All of us long to see people the way you see them. We want to have your heart.