Are You Listening?


Our most important evangelistic effort may not be when we are talking, but when we are listening.

I love preaching. I love talking about preaching. I am grateful to be on a staff where I have several associates who love to preach. So, as you can imagine, when we find ourselves together, we talk about preaching.

There is more to preaching than just trying to find the meaning in a passage of Scripture. Of course, that is vital, but there is more to it.

Great preachers understand their congregations. They study their people with the same intensity they use in studying the Bible. They understand how their people will react to their teaching. They are intentional about understanding how the truth of God’s Word needs to be structured so it can best be communicated and received.

Most of us think evangelism is about talking. We concentrate on the words we will use in telling someone about Jesus. We practice our technique. All of this is valuable, but don’t forget the primacy of listening.

A lot of conversations that end up being evangelistic don’t start that way. They begin with questions about favorite music groups, about conversations, about children—the everyday stuff of life. And in this casual conversation, the Spirit will open the door.

Listening, when you think about it, is an act of great love. Our full attention is one of the greatest gifts we can give our friends. Listening is more than just waiting to talk. It’s getting to know the other person. In knowing their story we will come to love them—learn to love them in the love Christ has for them and us.

Our most important evangelistic effort may not be when we are talking, but when we are listening.

So, who are you paying attention to? Who does Christ want to know through you?


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