It was the great theologian Yogi Berra who said: “You can observe a lot by just watching.” It’s easy not to notice. We pay attention to what is in front of us, blinded to other people and things around us. We need to be better noticers. In fact, I don’t think we can be effective pastors and leaders without being good at noticing!
Here are a few areas we need to notice.
Notice people. My wife and I like to walk the mall. Yes, like old people. One thing we enjoy is people watching. It’s interesting to see the various styles of dress and how people interact with each other. But, watching is not enough. We need to really notice people. To notice someone requires us to slow down and spend time with them. We need to listen and learn who they are. To notice people means to acknowledge and appreciate them for who they are. We cannot lead and impact others without noticing and caring for people.
Notice patterns. Lately, I’ve been listening to Albert Mohler’s daily briefing. I appreciate how he observes the trends in our culture. If we are not careful, we will be like the frog boiling in the pot –dying and oblivious to the changes around us. One author, Thorin Klosowski, made this conclusion, “The more you observe of the world and people, the better you become at detecting patterns. Subsequently, you get better at predicting what will happen next.”
Notice problems. No one likes a critical person. However, if you want to be a problem-solver, you must first see the problem. Change comes from seeing what could be different. Notice things that seem out of place. When you see something broken, ask “How can it be fixed?” When something is not working, ask “What was the reason for this in the first place and what can be done differently?”
Notice potential. Our attitudes and actions are based on what we notice. I remember John Maxwell saying that when a pastor leaves a church, he sees all the problems, but when he is coming to a new church he sees all the potential. It is a matter of perspective. I encourage all of us to see the potential in each of our congregations. After all, Jesus started with 12 (and even then, one betrayed him). He saw their potential as they fully followed Him!
BEFORE YOU GO…
We all can become better “noticers.” What are some important things you notice? How do you plan to improve your noticing? I’d love to hear from you!