Listening is the key to evangelism

I’ve said this before, but one of the articles in today’s links reminded me of this important fact: in today’s world, evangelism is primarily about listening.

I’d argue that it’s always been that way. Yes, I know that we see the mass conversions in the book of Acts and think they should be the norm. But I think we need to look instead to the ministry of Jesus, how he treated each person as an individual. He didn’t say, “OK, here are the basic steps that I teach each and every time.” He listened. He observed. He spoke to each person’s needs and each person’s concerns.

I don’t believe in the magic bullet, the special Bible study that works time and time again. I know some advocate such an approach; I personally don’t buy it. Haven’t seen it to work well for real conversions. Initial positive reactions, yes. Long-term conversions… no.

We listen. We listen again. Rather than worrying about what we’re going to say, we focus on what we are hearing. And when the time is right, if we’ve really listened, we’ll know what to say.

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