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Beyond the Walls - Take Time to Listen

Beyond the Walls is a weekly email to help Christ followers move beyond the walls of their church buildings, homes, comfort zones, and culture to engage those we live among with the Gospel.

"...there is a time to keep silence and a time to speak.”  Ecclesiastes 3:7
" quick to hear, slow to speak…”James 1:19

As we consider the power of stories as we have gospel conversations with those who are not yet believers, we must not discount the importance of the person’s story with whom we are engaged in conversation.  For far too long, we have made sharing the Gospel a monologue in which we do all the talking with very little input from the one who is listening. 

This style of Gospel-sharing was reinforced in the 1970s and 80’s with a variety of Gospel training methods in which you learned how to present the Gospel with a set script filled with memorized Bible verses, illustrations, and transitions.  And though I found many of them quite helpful, I fear that we turned sharing the Gospel into a “sales pitch” where we would sit down with someone, unload the Gospel on them, and then awkwardly ask them for a decision.

The sharing of the Gospel should be a conversation interweaving our story, God’s story, and the story of the one with whom we are sharing.  And listening to their story is vital in connecting with them.  When we listen, we communicate to them that we care; that we want to know them and build a relationship with them.

It is as we listen to their story and ask questions to find out about their family, their life experiences, and why they believe what they believe that we discover ways to speak the Gospel into their lives.  We must never forget that the essence of discipleship is moving people from unbelief to belief.  In the case of the not-yet believer, it is moving them from all the things they believe about God, life, and themselves that are not true to the truth that is revealed to us in Scripture.

And that takes time.  It doesn’t happen over a cup of coffee in one conversation.  It involves listening…listening to them and listening to the promptings of the Spirit as He guides you in how to speak the Gospel into their lives.

So...who will you listen to this week?

For the Fame of His Name!

John Whaley
National Pioneer, The Rooftop US

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