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.

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