Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Deep Listening

Written by: on June 20, 2019

Tom Camacho’s book, Mining for Gold gives thoughtful insight into a framework for coaching leadership. His passion for drawing out the potential in others came through in each chapter. His positive view of people and his love for Scripture must make him a joy to work with. Camacho’s generous nature translates through his language of growth and multiplication. Overall, my biggest takeaway from the reading was a reminder that God has a plan for every person and our collective impact for the Kingdom will be stronger when we seek to activate God’s gifts in each one.


The book was full of excellent, practical tips for coaching ourselves and coaching those we lead. However, one of the consistent themes that resonated with me was “deeper work.” At the close of every chapter, Camacho offers “deeper level questions.” He also challenges the coaching leader to drink deeply for themselves even as they work to serve other leaders.[1] He acknowledges that change can only be realized if the Holy Spirit is allowed to do deep work. However, the principle I was drawn to most was “deep listening.”[2]


One of the great gifts we can give people is a quiet, uninterrupted space to share their thoughts. In our digital, high-speed world, deep listening is a rare and beautiful thing. It is profound in these fast-paced days to actually slow down and have a deep and meaningful conversation.[3]


I have a growing desire to be a fully present leader. Too often I find myself distracted in the midst of conversation, not really hearing what team members are saying. I desire to slow down and “keep God in charge of the process.”[4] As I do this, I will find rest in my own soul, and perhaps I will be able to help others discover the solutions they are already holding. Without the clutter of my own voice, the Holy Spirit is allowed to take His rightful place.


This summer, I asked one of our student development teams to read Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism.[5] We have been unpacking their learnings from the book over the past few weeks. Each of them mentioned how difficult it was to reflect on their own digital addictions, especially in terms of lack of presence with others. Through our discussions, we realized one of the best gifts we could give our students would be to just listen purposefully to them. It was painful to think of the number of opportunities we have missed over the last few years because we were simply looking down, completely distracted. This has led us to challenge one another with a small “screen to scene” initiative this Fall. We hope putting our devices down and paying attention to what we see around us will help us do some deeper listening with our students. Camacho and Newport have served us well by calling us to consider another path forward.


I would enjoy hearing a conversation between the two of them.



[1] Tom Camacho, Mining for Gold, 2019.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology, 2019.

About the Author

Rhonda Davis

Rhonda is passionate about loving her Creator, her wonderful husband, and her three amazing sons. She serves as VP of Enrollment Management & Student Development at The King's University in Southlake, TX.

9 responses to “Deep Listening”

  1. Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    I too liked the deep listening concept. The questions that Camacho provided to encourage even deeper processing (and therefore further listening) were a valuable resource.

  2. Rhonda Davis says:

    I agree, Jacob. Camacho offered many practical tools throughout his book.

  3. Mario Hood says:

    Awesome post Rhonda. I think we all can do with less screen time. I wonder if there has been any research done with the rate of learning from online versus offline. Is there a major difference and if so how important is that?

  4. Sean Dean says:

    One of the best concepts I have heard on this topic is the tension between listening to answer and listening to hear. I like that Comacho is encouraging leaders to listen to hear and allow the Spirit to answer. That is a truly brilliant thing.

  5. Thank you Rhonda for highlighting the importance of deep listening, it’s hard to acknowledge that we are not good listeners but most of us have to learn how to listen. I like the point that Sean has highlighted that as leaders we should listen to hear and allow The Holy Spirit to answer.

  6. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    Thanks so much for your post. I think Sean has focused on the essential difference in “active listening”. That is, am I listening to answer (or typically “fix” in our culture) or simply reflect what I just heard for the benefit of the other. Sometimes the most powerful question we can ask at that moment is ,”What do you think the Lord is saying to you in this moment?” Many blessings on your pursuit of deep listening!

  7. Jenn Burnett says:

    Yes! I think that idea of listening both to the Holy Spirit and the person in front of you is so key to ministering to, and empowering people. And I agree that screens are becoming a significant deterrent to us doing both of these things. One of the other challenges I’ve experienced, pertaining to your research, is that many people listen out of their own experience. While this is impossible to escape, it has resulted in painful encounters where people have not listened to understand the unique challenge of leading as a mom. I’m sure there are many different type gaps between the speaker and the listener. (For example I might listen only as a mom leader and miss other nuances.) What role do you see personal awareness playing in how we listen? Are their any specific areas/biases that need to be named to help people more effectively coach female leaders in your tradition?

  8. Karen Rouggly says:

    This was a good post Rhonda! I’ve also been considering having my team read digital minimalism so I’m glad to hear that you have. I think that would also be a great conversation! You should ask him in our question/answer time!

  9. Mary Mims says:

    Rhonda, thank you for pointing out the importance of listening. This is a much-forgotten way to minister to others as well an essential tool for coaching. Prayerfully we can remember to listen as we minister.

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