Recently in a Small Group a couple who had joined LifePoint a few years ago shared some insight that many church-goers never hear.  I was all ears when she began to tell her story of two guys who visited her house.

She and her husband visited LP, then FBC Smyrna on a Sunday.  They were not church-goers but decided to visit this big church in town, FBC Smyrna.  They completed the ‘visitor card’ as requested by the guy giving the ‘welcome.’ On Monday, their doorbell rang and two men introduced themselves and said they were glad the couple had visited FBC.  She invited them in and they immediately asked “if you died tonight where would you go?”  For the next 45 minutes the two men kept asking questions and talking a lot like this.  Then they looked at her husband and ask “are you ready to make that decision tonight?”  She said the room was silent for what seemed like 10 minutes.  Then her husband said “no, I am ready to ask you to leave though.”

“We did not go back to that church for over a year and a half.  We were scared to visit any church after that.”  Something happened in their family and they decided to attend that same church with a friend, but did not fill anything out!

Wow, what a lesson.  I was in the middle of school in this Small Group! But thank you God for bringing them back to you through a relationship. This couple is now active at LifePoint and their Small Group.

LifePoint’s daily devotional today says Different audiences require different approaches to communication. Teachers learn about the age group they will teach before they develop lesson plans and step into the classroom. Missionaries learn all they can about the people they will try to reach before engaging that culture. Market researchers identify the wants and needs of their target audience before a company creates a product to sell that audience.

Jesus himself exemplifies this principle. That’s one of the reasons He taught through storytelling. Stories reach people of every educational level and life situation, especially when, like Jesus’ stories, they focus on things those people understand—farming, business, marriage, wayward children and so on. Jesus used stories because He knew they would be effective teaching methods for His particular audience.

Before you try to influence someone for Christ, learn as much as you can about him. Listen to him.  Try to determine an approach that would influence that person, based on personality, background, values, beliefs and interests. Step back and consider what the person would find compelling. What is important to him? What are his fears? What are his needs and desires? What does he value? How does he view the world? Try to step into that person’s shoes and see the world as he sees it. Often your approach to influencing the person will become obvious as you view life from that vantage point.

Before you ever say a word to someone about Jesus, do your homework. Listen.  Learn. Understand. Know. Then and only then are you ready to have influence.