Encouraging, Living, Reaching


Evangelism 101 Part 5: People Skills

Evangelism 101 Part 5: People Skills

Full Disclosure: I’m not a corporate trainer, nor do I have a degree in communications.

If you Google you can come up with a massive list of people skills necessary for the business world. Forgive my broad brush strokes. You can group rather generally in two categories; Communication skills: (verbal communication, non-verbal communication and listening skills, etc.) or Questioning: (interrogation, negotiation, problem solving, etc.). 

Consider these verses

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Luke 24:47-48 “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. ”

John 20:21 “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

In these portions the Lord Jesus commands we are to teach, we are to preach, we are to be witnesses and are to go as He was sent on the most amazing and radical mission ever heard of – sharing the good news of repentance and faith in the completed work of Christ Jesus the Lord.

Empathy

How do those scriptures help with people skills? Frankly, in the world’s view they won’t. However, we’re not looking for the approval of the world but the Creator and Savior of the world. Recall the aforementioned Google search? The search results repeatedly bring up the word “empathy” which is the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

We teach by words and actions about the grace and mercy of God that was shown to us in Christ. We preach the salvation, reconciliation and exaltation we have in Christ. We witness God’s character of love, mercy, justice and holiness to us in Christ. We go from His presence into a defiled world with the peace (completeness with God) He has graciously granted us in Christ.

I understand others because I am a sinner. I understand their need because I had the same need – salvation. I understand their resistance because I’ve been rebellious. I understand their blasphemy because I too was once ignorant.

Life isn’t Social Media

In the online world be it Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest people have a different persona online than they do face to face. There are things that people will say online that they would never say in public. This axiom doesn’t always hold true in the realm of religion and belief. People can get pretty animated when you tell them that hell is real and they are not by nature good people.

Yes, Jude writes we are to earnestly contend for the faith (1:3). But it’s contend not defile or defame the faith. You can jump into an intellectual debate without denigrating the opponent. Believers should be prepared to talk about difficult topics including mankind’s sin but not in a way that is unloving. More importantly don’t defile or defame the Son of the living God who took on all sin for you.

Developing skills

Developing skills is just developing a conversation. Some conversations take 10 seconds, others might take 10 years. Talk to people. Recognize people have real hurts that they blame God for and refuse to see His goodness in them. Be aware that not everyone is Christian in name that needs ‘your brand’ of Christianity.

Rather there are anti-Christians, agnostics, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, and heretics who weren’t raised in the USA where there is a church on every corner. Be keenly aware that not everyone had two parents, had 12 years of public education, and has a job that pays the bills or a spouse that loves them.

Asking questions

We can’t see the depths of another’s pain but we can empathize with them.  We can ask them questions. Ask friendly questions, ask probing questions, and ask open ended questions. Keep the conversation going and continually point back to the giver of wisdom God most High.

Sometimes the questions are planned out and should be, other times be pliable to the Spirit’s leading to ask on another line or just listen. God is not so small that He can’t use even our verbal faux pas to call the lost.

Colossians 4:2-6 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Redeem the time for the Lord. Show grace, seasoned with salt. Show the world the unmerited favor you’ve been given. Show the lost the cleansing, purifying love Christ has shown you.


Evangelism 101 Series

Check out all of the posts in this series Evangelism 101.

Andrew Brown

Drew Brown has been saved by God’s marvelous grace since about age 10 and strives to serve the Lord using his gifts for the building of the body of Christ. He has worked in IT for over 15 years and is currently the Information Security Officer for one of the four Commonwealths in the nation.

One Response to Evangelism 101 Part 5: People Skills

  1. James

    This is awesome. Thanks.

    I’ve found that active listening is very important and easy to overlook unless you practice. It’s not enough to listen. You have to communicate that you are listening:

    • non-verbals

    • short verbal responses (un-huh, I see, of course, yes, not sure about that, wow, that must have been hard, I’ve heard that before, I’ve never heard anything like that before, I agree…and, I agree…but)

    • mirroring (making one’s body posture, gestures, and expressions mirror the other person—when they lean in, you lean in)

    • direct feedback (repeating their words back to them in context—“You just said, ‘religious people are hypocrites,’ and I agree with you. AND that’s a problem,BUT I’ve never met anyone, religious or otherwise, who is not a hypocrite in some sense. Let’s talk about you, your experience with “religious people,” and why you have such a strong impression…”)

    I’ve had some success recently (on social media actually), when someone made a broad remark—“the Bible tells women to hush and ask their husbands at home.” I was able to respond with “Oh, you must be talking about 1 Corinthians 11. Did you know that…? You should try looking at…?”

    With this tactic, the Lord actually used me to engage with a backsliding sister, not over her issue with some Christians, but over the Bible. It was a simple matter of listening, acknowledging her issue, and then pivoting the discussion into the relevant scripture itself.

    Of course, Andrew, as you say, all the active listening, non-verbal, and verbal “skills” are useless if they are trying to be a substitute for true empathy. But empathy expressed with good communication skills can be a powerful tool in both evangelism and encouragement.

    Thanks for writing this.

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