Friday, September 12, 2008

First Things First

How do you get started doing Story Listening Evangelism? Listen. Pay attention to the very first thing a person says to you or within earshot of you. In story listening, the first thing a person says, usually in highly symbolic, metaphorical form, contains what the person is struggling with. Do not try to problem solve the issue. you will get resistance, just like therapists in dealing with the presenting problem of their patients. Hold it abeyance, knowing you have a clue to the lost person's cry for help. Just listen to the next story and the next story as the person reveals himself or herself to you.

Listen for God's story as you continue to listen. The Spirit will give you the insights and words to say. Stay focused on the story you are being told and do not tell your own story yet or change the subject. that would be a sign that the pain in the life of the lost person is more than you have capacity to hear at the present time.

EXAMPLE: I walked in to the branch bank in New Jersey and said to the young teller: Hi! How are you? She replied: Can't complain! I asked: Would you like to? Her answer: Oh! Nobody would listen. My reply: I would!

Can't complain is an acceptable way to say hello in America. AND it is not a neurological accident. She had something to complain about and was testing the waters to see if someone would listen.

Go back and re-play conversations you have had with lost persons. What was the first thing the person said to you? What did they say next? What did you do with that information?

PRACTICE: Listen this week for the first things people share with you. Notice how that initial element of the conversation plays out as you continue to listen. I believe you will notice many clues the person is giving you as they attempt to reveal themselves to you as they cry out for the help needed in salvation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WIIFM? Part 2

What's in it for me? Story Listening Evangelism (SLE) is for you if you have been witnessing to someone for a long time and without success or if you have been witnessing to a family member or close friend to no apparent avail.

SLE helps you step back from all the encounters and begin to make sense of what has transpired as you hear the clues that have been there all along from the lost friend or family member's story.

SLE provides a refreshing way to untangle yourself from the arguments, side stories, and other issues that get in the way of long term witnessing. It helps you stay current by hearing what the lost person is struggling with now and over an extended period of time.

SLE also gives you assurance that God is at work in the lost person's life to reclaim him or her for the Kingdom's sake. I do not believe God pulls the rug out from under a person to whom he is self-revealing his wonderful story of redemption.

WIIFM? -- Hope, knowing God is at work, using you, your ears, and your heart, as instruments of his redemptive peace.

For more information on Story Listening Evangelism, e-mail me at I will send you a map of SLE. If you are interested in a workshop in your neck of the woods, tell me what you are looking for and I will custom design a training to fit your needs.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008


What's in it for me? I hear you. You are wondering what Story Listening Evangelism (SLE) can do for you. You are wondering if the training and focused listening is worth it. Is it effective? Is it biblical?

If you are a believer, SLE is biblical. It fulfills the Great Commission: As you go, make disciples.... You will hear words from lost people you would not have noticed before as God places them and their stories in your path.

If you thought evangelism is for someone else or the professionals, SLE is for you. SLE is not rocket science. You are already listening at a profound level at an unconscious level. Now you will be able to sharpen your conscious listening skills as well as your unconscious ones, too.

If you have never led a person to the Lord, SLE is for you. You don't have to argue, debate or have a vast systematic theological understanding of the Kingdom. You just need to listen. One of my dearest friends recently told me, "We are not going to win the world with systematic theology. God is not systematic." I beleive that because God is able to be sovereign God in each and every situation, no matter what our freedom of choice brings about.

If you are a pastor, SLE will not only boost your own witnessing efforts, it will revolutionize the ministry of your congregation. There will be a depth to service in the Kingdom not known before.

If you are someone who is seeking God, SLE is for you, especially. Help is on the way for you to be heard. God will send someone in your path to hear your cry for help and direct you to Him. I am confident of that.

WIIFM? Still asking? E-mail me at and I will send you a PPT map of SLE. You can book a training for your group. Just let me know what your needs are.


Monday, September 08, 2008

GPS Evangelism

Memorizing and sharing the Roman Road to a non-believer is like throwing a map at them and telling them to follow it exactly as it has been printed. While many people have come to faith over the years with the use of those Roman mile markers, today's lost people need a GPS system to find faith because there is a lot of traffic, wrecks, construction, roadblocks, and turns on the road to faith.

Story Listening Evangelism is such a GPS-based way to share faith. Story is the signal sent from God and the lost person to guide the witness along the Roman Road or whatever path you find yourself on with a lost person. Story Listening Evangelism, or SLE for short, is a toolbox of listening skills that are flexible and powerful as you adjust your spiritual conversation with the lost person based on what the lost person tells you in his or her stories. From there you will have the clues to guide them down the road on their journey to faith. If you get caught in traffic, their stories will let you know. The same with roadblocks or different turns and choices. With SLE you can adjust the course on a moment's notice. If you, as the witness, get lost on the road that the lost person is taking with you, the lost person's story, if you have built rapport will make a course correction, just like an air traffic controller, will get you back on track with the lost person.

If you are interested in stepping into the 21st century with your witnessing skills, contact me at for a PowerPoint introduction to SLE and an invitation to bring this cutting-edge tool for evangelism to your neck of the woods. I'll find you.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

This ain't Kansas, Toto!

If I were to tell you on this blog that I had discovered the cure for cancer, you might think I am crazy or that I am like Sean Connery in the movie, Medicine Man. Well, I have not found the cure for cancer (wish I had!). What I have discovered is a way to bring the Kingdom of God to the lost of the 21st century. Like Dorothy in the movie version of the Wizard of Oz, this does not look like Kansas, the familiar landscape of the past, traveled on the Roman Road. But like, Toto, I want to share with you what I found when I pulled the curtain back on evangelism and revealed the wizard behind it.

Hear me up front! God is the only one who saves. The Holy Spirit draws a person to God. How we as beleivers assist in that process, fulfilling the Great Commission, is to listen to the lost person's story and mirror that story back to the lost person. The aha! moment in salvation occurs at the intersection of God's self-revealing story of salvation and the lost person's story.

What I have to offer is training, coaching, and equipping with the listening skills to hear the cry for help from a lost person and stay in the conversation as the lost person begins to hear their own story.

That way the witness stays with what the lost person has given and does not intrude. There is no one way to do Story Listening Evangelism, only listening with prayerfully sharpened and sensitive listening skills, one person at a time.

If you are interested in this cutting-edge, paradigm-shift approach to sharing your faith, e-mail me at I will send you a cognitive map in PowerPoint introducing Story Listening Evangelism. Then we can talk about how I can provide training and coaching to you, your congregation, or a group of interested witnesses.

It all begins with the first thing a lost person says to you....