The Power of Listening: Building Skills for Mission and Ministry

Author: Lynne M. Baab
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ©2014
Format: Paperback; 196 pages
Library Section: Religious Section (REL)
Edition: --

Location: Ellen G. White Study Center
Call Number: REL 253.7 BAA 2014
Status: New Acquisition
Stocks Available: 1 copy

Description: --
Note: --
ISBN-10: 1566997119
ISBN-13: 978-1566997119

Lynne M. Baab (M.Div., Ph.D. in communication) is a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister, lecturer in pastoral theology and author of numerous books about congregational life and Christian spiritual practices, including Fasting, Sabbath Keeping and Joy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your Congregation. Visit her website at www.lynnebaab.com.

Author's Biography'

Do you ever long to be a better listener? Check out my 2014 book, The Power of Listening: Building Skills for Mission and Ministry. It focuses on the role of listening in congregational life, specifically listening to each other within the congregation, listening to the wider community, and listening to God. When I did the interviews for this book, I learned so much about obstacles to listening, so the book has two chapters on how to overcome common obstacles as well. The Power of Listening is my tenth non-fiction book.

The past few years have been exciting for me as a writer. In 2015 I published my third novel, Death in Dunedin. Come and visit my adopted home town, Dunedin, New Zealand, with Lena, the main character from my novel Deadly Murmurs. My ninth non-fiction book was published in 2012. I love the title, which I did not dream up! Joy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your Congregation focuses on ways groups of people can engage in spiritual practices together, such as thankfulness, fasting, sabbath keeping, contemplative prayer and others. There's a chapter on the ways these spiritual practices play a role in discernment, and another chapter that addresses some of the recent criticisms of spiritual practices.

In 2012 and 2013 I published two novels for kindle and other e-book formats. Dead Sea: A Novel is set in Israel and Jordan. You can do some traveling with Samantha, a reluctant guide on an archaeological tour, who helps a police detective unravel the mystery. The book includes questions for book groups. A sequel to Dead Sea, with the title Deadly Murmurs: A Novel, is set in Seattle, and the sleuth is Lena, an athlete, church staff member and excellent listener whose ability to listen helps her figure out (and encounter!) the killer of an abortion nurse.

I'm rejoicing about another recent release, the kindle version of my book on midlife spirituality, A Renewed Spirituality: Finding Fresh Paths at Midlife.

I invite you to visit my website, www.lynnebaab.com. I blog there regularly, and I've posted many articles I've written on topics related to my books. You can find me on Facebook as Lynne Baab and on Twitter as @lynnebaab.

I teach pastoral theology at a university in Dunedin, New Zealand. I am still deeply engaged with the topics I've written about it my books. I keep a sabbath every week and I still see fasting as a significant way to disengage with the consumer culture. I love and practice a variety of spiritual disciplines that I described in Joy Together. They have shaped my spiritual life. I still enjoy thinking about and talking about personality type and issues of midlife, and I continue to speak and teach about preventing burnout among Christian leaders. And I try to be a good listener!

I am so grateful for the privilege of being a writer. If you have read my books, thank you. If you choose to purchase one of my books for the first time, I hope and pray that it will stimulate your thinking and encourage you to draw near to God in love, joy and obedience.

Listening skills, and the perspective gained through careful listening, are more important in congregations than ever. Many factors make attentive listening a significant contributor to healthy congregations. As we enter into a post-Christendom culture, the people coming into congregations, as well as the people in the wider community, are less likely to be operating from a shared set of assumptions. With world-wide migration reshaping our communities and congregations, diverse perspectives coming from varied cultural backgrounds are also more common. The breakdown of many support structures in society has created profound pastoral care needs, making listening increasingly significant for both ministers and lay leaders. Polarization over so many issues and the increasing emphasis on story-telling in the journey of faith are two additional reasons why listening matters today. Careful and loving listening nurtures care, connection and depth, which contribute to congregational life and health.

Listening to God is another aspect of listening which is gaining increased attention today. Many congregational leaders have become weary of church as a business and are looking for authentic experiences of God’s guidance. Congregations are increasingly engaging in communal discernment. Many listening skills used in human interactions are also building blocks for listening to God.

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