Do I listen?

The Vineyard

Dear Friends,


A question to consider today: Do I listen? Most people do not. I have been one of them. It takes time and energy to listen—-it’s work. Most of us can talk and expect to be listened to, but when your mouth is open, you aren’t learning anything.


But listening is important, particularly in a church, and especially now. I realize some people will take advantage of my willingness to listen and some never shut up, but it’s worth the frustration. Those who come as campers or staff to my camp, and those that come to this church are worth listening to.  After all, Jesus said that if we were kind—-or listened-to the smallest child, we were listening to Him. So, are we listening or just hearing?


The leaders of this church, and our future pastor, need to be the best listeners in Pilot Mountain-and as the Camp Director of The Vineyard, I need to be best listener on Brown Mountain—-and I am not yet.  I have to remind myself that listening is a form of loving.  It costs me nothing to listen and it shows not only respect, but sets up the opportunity for me to be heard later


Listening the the littlest—-that is children—-is essential in ministry and the life of a camp and our church!  Hearing is a passive occurrence that requires no effort. Listening, on the other hand, is a conscious choice that demands my attention and concentration.

Camp Directors, pastors and Christian leaders need to not only hear—-but listen.


Aren’t you glad that you have people in your life that listen to you?  And more than all else, how blessed we are  that God hear our voices.God not only has spoken, but He also listens — he stops, he patiently waits, He wants to hear from me. He stands ready to hear my voice.  We have an audience whenever we want it—-it’s called prayer. And it looks like this church is moving more and more towards being a praying community.


The world would be a better place if people listened to each other more. Communication would be real, everyone would be able to. say what they wanted,  conflicts will lessen and people would find new strength to follow their hearts.


Listening is an art, a path to other people’s heart, an effort that requires patience, and at times I must fight the urge to talk—-but rather just listen. The only way we learn is by listening, reading or observing—-never by talking or controlling a conversation.


Many years ago, in San Francisco, a young man, lonely and depressed, jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.  When the police went to his apartment afterward, they found a simple note he’d written and left it on his dresser. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. Bit if one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’” 


No one smiled at him, talked to him… no one listened to hear about the hurt going inside him. The next time you have a chance to listen to someone, try to stop thinking, remove the smart and witty things you can’t wait to say, and just listen. Listen with all your heart,  mind and soul—you might be saving a life, giving hope to a person at the end of his rope.


I need to listen more. Those of us who lead in camps or churches must listen more both to our campers, members and to our community—-and especially to the lonesome.



Dean Barley

The Vineyard

336 351 2070

919 360 8493 (Mobile)





1 comment

  • Pamela Sabattus

    At our women’s retreat one of the loudest messages I heard was to just still before the Lord! As a mother of 7 I find it very difficult to just sit and be still. I find myself always on the run. When I am obedient and sit before God quietly I can hear his gentle whispers. I can actually hear him , then I must make the choice to be obedient and listen .. and follow through. I have learned that there is such a difference in being heard and someone listening with their whole heart! Jesus ask that we saturate ourselves in his word ( oh how I love they word saturate .. being soaked in him) so that we may not only hear his whispers but because our heart is obedient actually follow through with his plan. I am always learning to stop and listen, when my 9 year old son comes to me I remind myself to stop , look at him and listen. Immediately I see the joy in his eyes knowing I deeply care for him. Jesus wants that from us that we stop and listen that we are so saturated in him that we not only hear his sweet whispers but that we with all our hearts are obedient! I am in awe of knowing that when I go to Jesus , that he is there smiling with joy because he knows I trust him with my heart. I matter to him and with all my being I smile at him knowing he’s GOT THIS and I can rest in him!

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