The secret to leadership and transformation of a group, or of another person, is the quality of the relationship one person has with another. Thus the effective group leader or counselor will be the person who learns how to listen to other people. By studying and employing these listening skills, church leaders will engage others more compassionately, allowing them to feel that their needs are being met. The skills can be used with persons who are terminally ill, inactive at church, going through a divorce, in a family with a severely ill person, unemployed, seeking a new church, grieving, traumatized by catastrophe, going through teenage adolesence, in marriage counseling, or leading a ministry team.
John Savage offers eleven specific and teachable listening skills for improving relationships among those who do ministry in small-group settings or when offering counsel to others. The skills are taught through oral exercises and unfailingly helpful examples from actual congregational situations. The skills include paraphrase, productive questions, perception check, expression of feelings and emotions, fogging, negative inquiry, behavior description, and story listening.