Monday, August 13, 2012

Listen Before Speaking

I recently enjoyed Jonathan Dodson's book Gospel Centered Discipleship . He has a new e-book out called  Unbelievable Gospel: How to Share a Gospel Worth Believing.  Here's Dodson on learning to listen before speaking in evangelism:
Think about the last time you tried to "share the gospel." What was going through your head? Were you angling to find an opening to mention Jesus (only to later congratulate yourself for mentioning his name)? Or perhaps you were more intentional, looking for an opportunity to lay out the gospel over lunch or coffee? In these instances, we often look to speak before waiting to listen.
Francis Schaeffer was asked what he'd do if he had an hour to share the gospel with someone. He responded by saying he'd listen for 55 minutes and then, in the last 5 minutes, have something meaningful to say. In other words, he listened in order to speak the gospel.
Our evangelism is often unbelievable because we don't listen at all. All too often the gospel we share is an information download, not a loving articulation of how the good news fits into the needs, fears, hopes, and dreams of others' lives. We content ourselves with "name dropping" Jesus, which gets us a √ in performance-based Christianity---unless, of course, we mention the cross, which bumps us up to a √+. This kind of evangelism, however, is more about clearing our evangelical conscience than compassionately sharing the good news with fellow sinners. Very often our gospel is unbelievable because we are motivated by unbelief in the gospel.
Much more at the link.