Tip #2: Live a life that reflects the true Jesus.
Another tip that is simple in theory but more difficult in practice. Like it or not, how we make people feel will go a long ways towards how much they listen to us. Hear from Joshua Erlien (E360 Church Engagement Director) about a real life example where the behavior of a speaker affected his opportunity to impact with his message.
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Live a life that reflects the true Jesus.
Several years ago, we packed up the four children and my grandmother and moved from Minnesota to North Carolina. We bought a house in a neighborhood outside of Charlotte. We hadn’t been in the house longer than a few months when the woman next door came and rang the doorbell. I forget what her errand was. But I won’t soon forget that, in the middle of the conversation, she stopped and looked at me and said, “You’re such a loving family.” My first impulse was surprise. She hardly knew us. But the Lord was evident in our lives. Though we are by no means perfect, even our imperfect walk with Jesus contrasted very strongly with her own family life.
My daughter and I attended a rally, in Charlotte, a few years ago. The city council was about to hear public comment and then vote on a new transgender bathroom ordinance. The organizers of the rally did a good job of getting speakers, some of whom could clearly articulate the public safety concerns. During the rally, there were protesters from the LGBTQ community that stood by and held signs. They remained peaceful and respectful throughout. Near the end of the rally, the protesters locked arms and pushed their
way to the front of the crowd. As they stood below the platform, they were chanting, “Hey Hey… Ho Ho… Transphobia’s got to go!” It was a catchy little rhyme, but it disrupted the rally.
One of the organizers took the microphone and responded with belittling comments about the protesters. In a mocking tone, he called them children. His assessment of their maturity and civility was probably accurate, but his scorn made him lose something. I found myself, even though I agreed with the purpose of the rally, losing confidence in the speaker. He lost my trust and with it any persuasiveness he may have had.
As much as we might like to think that we are Spock-like in our logical decision-making paradigm, the fact of the matter is much more complex, even human. You will not be persuaded by someone you mistrust. You will mistrust someone who acts unseemly. You are much more apt to listen to someone who does good. No amount of arguments can overcome emotional repulsion from an idea. On the other hand, no decision will ever be made that we don’t care about, even if we think it is true. We must have proper feelings toward a matter in order to be persuaded.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
All of this is to say that the transformative power of Jesus in your life will give a credence to your words that is beautiful and compelling. Walk with Jesus. Life has power. Spend time with the Lord, in prayer and Bible reading. See what that does to your conversations and your life.
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To a fruitful 2019,
Greg West and the Engage 360 Team