"I love hearing how much you enjoy creation."
"It kills me you experienced that."
"It's exciting you love being hospitable."
By starting with their story, you're showing them you genuinely care and want to interact rather than argue and talk. Anyone can do that. The other great thing is that because we are not trying to argue about what's right or be clever with our words, there is no need for us to become tongue-tied. Unlike the teenage boy who is trying to impress the girl and his mouth becomes dry, we're not trying to impress—we're trying to listen.
People love telling stories and talking about their lives. Everyone has a story to tell: stories of heartbreak, suffering, joy and wonder. People love to tell stories—that's why people love talking about their grandchildren or their last holiday. If you have time to listen, then people will talk and tell you so much of their lives. I think most people aren't listened to but are talked at. They turn on their TV or computer, and it's a one-way communication. So when you listen to them, they will love to talk. I recently found myself chatting to a woman who obviously doesn't get listened to very often. I stood listening to her, and after a few minutes, she paused and started to giggle before carrying on. It was like she realized, "He's still listening."
People can't see their sin, but they can see the consequences of sin around them. This is a great starting place. You could say people are happy to lie but don't like the consequences when caught lying. People like being self-centered until someone does it to them. Showing the consequences of sin in the world around and how it destroys people, friendships and families can help them as you slowly unravel how sin is silently prowling and damaging the world around. People often can see sin in others before themselves. That's certainly true of myself.
Pointing or Dragging?
For me, evangelism is hearing stories and telling stories. Simply put, evangelism is pointing to Jesus in telling my story. It's not about trying to drag people kicking and screaming into the Jesus Camp. It's about pointing to the one we follow and inviting others to follow with you. Jesus never talks about joining clubs, but He does talk about following where He is going.
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