As Christian Leaders Institute continues to grow, we are always encouraged to see positive feedback from our Bible school students. Many courses ask for a final reflection paper where the student evaluates what he or she learned in the class and how it applies to life and ministry. In a reflection paper for Pastoral Care and Marriage, Thelma Williams-Grady talks about what she learned in this course.

“I think this [how to really listen] is one of the most important things I will take away from this course because you not only have to hear what people say but we must listen to what they say. There is a difference.” The concept of learning to listen to what people have to say comes hard to many people, but the exposure to this key element of counseling and care will stick with Thelma for years to come. Learning to listen will also strengthen her ability to lead, counsel, and care for others in the future.

Thelma talks about a lot of other things that she learned in Pastoral Care and Marriage, but she concludes by saying, “While counseling maintain and keep client information confidential. In our society we as church leaders need to support marriage not condemn it, because marriage support is at an all-time low.  I will use this course to strengthen my own marriage. Please pray for me because I have a hard task ahead of me. People come to church to hear the word of God not gossip.” This last point is another key element of ministering to and counseling others. Gossip is always destructive, tearing down the person who is being gossiped about, the gossiper, and the listeners all at the same time. In fact, learning what not to listen to is often just as important as learning to listen. The lessons that Thelma shares from this course are ones that every Christian, not just leaders, should apply to their lives through the power of Christ.

Learning to Listen so We Can Better Share God’s Love

When she first joined Christian Leaders Institute, Thelma completed the course Getting Started: Christian Basics Certificate. In this class, students are introduced to the Bible school model at Christian Leaders Institute. They are also asked to write a brief letter talking about what brought them to Christian Leaders Institute as well as their ministry goals. In her letter, Thelma writes, “My dream ministry is to preach and teach the gospel the way that is becoming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have a testimony of how the lord has blessed me, and I just want to tell the whole world.” The desire to share God’s blessing in your life with others honors God and shows others that you truly believe that everything comes from Him, not from your work. Yet, just as in pastoral care and counseling, learning to listen to what the other person is saying can increase the impact of your message dramatically.

When Thelma completed Getting Started: Christian Basics Certificate, she received her Christian Basics Certificate. This is the first certificate offered to students at Christian Leaders Institute. Once students complete this certificate, they can move on and take any of the other courses offered here. It is a blessing to see the work that God is doing through these courses, and our prayer is that He will ever increase the number of people reached through Christian Leaders Institute.