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In my previous post on most youth groups (and groups in general) using the line, “Bring your friends” I explained why this is very often counterproductive.  I also said that I would begin a series explaining a better way to go about things.  That starts today and it is called “Being Relational.”

No, this isn’t a Dale Carnegie course abbreviated (or elongated).  No, it’s not just for churches/ministries.  In a way, it’s for everyone.  Full disclosure, as always, a lot of the information here is from my days in YoungLife but it’s also a lot of things I have gleaned from my days in wine sales, experiences in other ministries, and my knowledge of emotional/relational needs in general.

So much of this is common sense yet it, quite obviously, seems to go overlooked.  I used to be amazed, when I would train others, that many people just didn’t know how to build relationships in a non-threatening manner that built everyone up.

I begin by asking you to ask yourself, “What is my goal?”  Be honest.  So often we do things just because we feel we should or simply feel obligated (or are obligated).  Is your goal to love others?  I hope so.  Is it to spread what you know to those who don’t know?  That’s good.  Is it to inform and show them and not cram something down their throat?  It had better be.  If it isn’t these things I highly doubt you will stay committed or should be the one responsible for growing whatever you are doing/representing.

The most important aspect of this entire process is that are committed to a simple phrase, “Earn the right to be heard.”  Don’t beat them over the head, don’t barge in, don’t assume that they want to hear what you have to say/believe.  Earn the opportunity to be heard by them.  Don’t assume (yeah yeah yeah) that what you hold to be so near and dear to your heart will be so to others.  Don’t think that because you “get it” that those who don’t know just “don’t get it.”  They are not as invested in “it” as you are.  They are not you.  You can’t simply tell them something and have them blindly follow you or accept what you say as valid, let alone true.

No, it begins with earning the very right to be heard in the first place.  Everything,  everything else flows from there.  It is natural, it can be learned, it is “comfortable” for all involved.  Further, it’s not intrusive.  It’s not aggressive.  It’s not in your face.  It doesn’t bring hard feelings to the surface.  It does not put any one off or out.  At worst you have developed relationships that will mutually benefit both sides both now and more so down the road.  At best, you have shown to truly believe what you say, have cared for the person to which you have been earning the right to be heard, and have grown the vision/mission/knowledge of whatever you are trying to share.

If you’re still with me you’re probably ready to move on.  If you’re against me, you’ve probably stopped reading or didn’t even check this page in the first place.  Baby steps.  There are more posts to come…

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