Sunday, February 24, 2008

Listening Lab

For the last week, Gary & June Thorson and Les & Dixie Hawkey have been with us at Woodward Park. The Thorsons and the Hawkeys are members of the Sojourners Ministry -- a ministry overseen by the Burleson, Texas Church of Christ based in Marshall, Texas. The Sojourners are members of the church who travel throughout the United States in campers and RV's sharing good news, service and ministry skill with churches.

Last Wednesday, I joined a crew of 24 other members at Woodward Park in the Listening Lab taught by Gary and Les. The Listening Lab is designed to teach church members skills in visiting and winning back the fallen away. The eleven listening skills -- taught on consecutive nights Wednesday through Friday, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon -- were extremely insightful, not just for ministry but for all interpersonal relationships. I have no doubt my relationship with Mandy and with my girls will be enhanced many times over because of the Listening Lab.

Perhaps the neatest, most beneficial aspect, though, was the relationships formed within the group participants. The interactive sessions where we practiced and honed our listening skills resulted in learning about the experiences of friends within our church family. The bonds of friendship and family were strengthened within our group, and that was worth the time investment, if nothing else.

If your congregation has been looking for an effective way to enhance visitation, member retention, and delinquent member restoration, then the skills of the Listening Lab are a must! In my ministry experience, no workshop has ever taught more insightful, practical ministry tools than the Listening Lab.

Fortunately for Woodward Park, the Thorson and Hawkeys are hanging around for another week. A maxed-out group of 39 will participate in Listening Lab #2 beginning Wednesday.