Slow down: listen with your heart

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
–Matthew 11:15

Empathic listening is “hearing with your heart”
Empathic listening is “hearing with your heart”

One of the critical skills for effective cross-cultural partnerships is empathic listening: “hearing with your heart.” [1] The purpose of this blog post and the two or three that will follow is to show you what this means. Below is a 14-minute video with Alan and Pauly Heller of the ministry Walk&Talk, entitled “Alan & Pauly Heller … On Listening.” You may be  thinking, “Fourteen minutes! Are you kidding? I don’t have that much time!”—which probably proves why you need to watch this video. I believe there is no more important skill in today’s world of global Christian mission and ministry, than the art of slowing down … listening well … hearing with your heart—in relationship to people and to our Lord. This is why an entire set of lessons is devoted to listening in The Beauty of Partnership learning journey.

Alan & Pauly Heller participated in a marriage retreat sponsored by Mission ONE in Thailand in March 2009. This was done to serve Mission ONE’s ministry partner, Mekong Evangelical Mission (MEM), directed by Dr. Chansamone Saiyasak. Eighteen Christian leaders from Thailand and Southeast Asia attended with their spouses. Alan & Pauly shared their ministry of training couples in specific listening skills—to help them connect heart-to-heart with one another. The marriage retreat had a huge impact on all those who participated—and even on the whole ministry of MEM. In the video below, you will see the crux of what Alan & Pauly taught in the marriage retreat in Thailand.

In tomorrow’s blog you will see pictures from the marriage retreat and comments reflecting the results. So come back tomorrow. Enjoy…

1. I discovered this definition of empathic listening on the web page of Peter K. Gerlach, MSW:

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