on January 24-25 we did something new at the International Youth Group. We held a 12 hour workshop on listening. How many teenagers will sign up for a 12 hour workshop? My guess was around 7. My parent's were coming from the States to share what they'd recently been trained in: Reflective Listening. And this was the number I told them.

You can imagine my shock, then we had a total of 27 each day at our workshop!

We met Friday from 5-9pm, and then kids split up guys and girls and slept at two different youth group family's house. Many thanks to the Gaults and the Cosners for housing so many students!

The goal of reflective listening is to help someone explore their own thoughts and feelings. Removing as many communication barriers as possibly, the listener uses a formula of tentative opening--feeling--thought.

If a friend comes with a issue, for example someone just bullied them at school and hurled a slew of insults at them, one might say: "Wow, it sounds like (tentative) you're feeling embarrassed (feeling) for that to have happened in front of so many people (thought)." In asking this question, two things happen: the person feels listened to (and therefore valued) because of the feeling and thought that were said back at them; the person also now has the opportunity to correct the listener: "No, I wasn't embarrassed as much as ashamed because now everyone knows that _____. And I really don't think that I can show my face in front of those people again!" The conversation can go on, and what ends up happening often times is that the person with the problem ends up processing what's going on. That person might not have even known they felt ashamed until someone helped put words to it. This is such a great way to love and value people, and help them process. At the end of the day, one can join with the other in prayer with better understanding of what to lift up to the Lord.

My parents (Ross and Mary) did a great job teaching the course, and put a lot of time and energy into the prep! If you are interested in learning more about their ministry or if they might be able to visit your church and share the same workshop, visit their website.

Also thanks goes to Equipping Ministries International, who made their material affordable for our youth group to use!


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