I came across two great quotes this morning.
God wants us to be present where we are. He invites us to see and to hear what is around us and, through it all, to discern the foot prints of the Holy. Richard Foster.
To acquire knowledge one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. Marilyn Von Savant.
I believe the pastor needs to be an active listener; active listening involves more then just hearing. It means to understand. For a pastor to understand the community in which they minister; they need to be active in listening to this community. This means to be engaging within it; and not be distant from it.
The pastors listening skills are sharpened by what they see. By what they feel. By how they touch and are touched. And the way they hear is affected by where they go. The very nature of hearing and listening demands a personal response to get involved. While the human nature of the pastor may incline the pastor to recoil and retreat from the horror within the community; the Holiness of God must compel the pastor to go forth in love and engage within and through this community, bringing with them the Love of Christ.
Brian LePort has written an article to honour such a pastor. May our gracious Lord continue to raise up many like him.