Monday, February 10, 2014

Importance of Listening

I have had my life positively affected by some powerful messages by some dynamic speakers/pastors. I've been challenged and convicted by some dynamic messages. In fact it happened yesterday at church. I believe 2 Timothy 3:16 which says "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV).  

As a young person I was told that the Sunday Sermon was for the congregation to be taught and take what was learned and practice it in the world.  But I noticed something different when I went to seminary.  Some were so convinced that the Sermon was the primary way to see life change.  Again, I've seen lives changed through powerful messages. I've known Preachers that that is all they did. They preached powerful messages but had no interaction with their congregation and especially non-churched.  But the non-Christians whose lives were changed through those messages had a relationship with someone who brought them to hear the message. 

If we believe that a Sunday message alone is going to change the world we are sadly mistaken. Preaching is important to believers and non-believers who are ready to hear the message.  But for someone who doesn't believe in God or the Bible than preaching to them and sharing verses without their permission will fall on deaf ears.  Actually it will fall on angry ears. 

This has become more apparent to me in the last few months.  With changes in our culture moving away from a Biblical Worldview some well meaning (and not well meaning) Christians blast Social Media and Talk Radio shows quoting Scripture about various social topics that bother them. To be honest those same social topics bother me.  A few years ago I probably would have been in the same group mentioned above.  But I have learned through my ministry that less preaching and more listening has given me more opportunities to share my faith.  In fact because I've learned to listen more and preach less people start pouring out their lives without me even asking.  This has given me numerous opportunities to share my Faith!

Let me be clear that Preaching is a necessary and valuable tool.  But in today's society we need to become more active in building relationships with people whom we don't always agree with.  We can't get so offended that we destroy any opportunity to minister.

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