Have you ever met people who seem to explain things in a really complicated way? I am not only talking about the Gospel, because it can involve any subject. I have met individuals over the years who enthusiastically spoke about their subject in such a way that they used terms and phrases that often seemed to go over my head.
On occasions, people can also combine their technical knowledge with a rapid speech pattern which leaves me even more confused. They are so involved in what they have to say that they don’t realise that are losing me.
When we communicate the gospel message it is very important to consider how we may sound to our listener. Firstly, are we easy to understand? Could a child comprehend what we are saying? Do we share our message in the form of a conversation or, do we just keep on talking in the hope that the message will get through?
As well as being an evangelist, I teach communication-based subjects to adult classes. During sessions, I will often go to great lengths to explain that effective communication is a learned a skill. It is something we can all develop and improve upon. Time and effort spent in this area will ensure that we are much more effective when we share what Jesus did for us.
Key point: The gospel message is basically simple one. We need to make sure that we don’t over complicate it.
Essentially, the message of the gospel simple one. As ambassadors for Christ, we need to make every effort to ensure that we don’t make it more difficult to understand than it needs to be. We need to have a plan in mind so that we keep things simple.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130
“And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming to you the testimony of God [concerning salvation through Christ], I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom [no lofty words of eloquence or of philosophy as a Greek orator might do]” 1 Corinthians 2:1 AMP
A while ago, I attended an evangelists networking event where I listened to a great communicator who explained the gospel in this way. He basically said, “Jesus was born and lived in sinless life. He died for our sins at Calvary. He rose again after three days. He did all of this so that we might spend eternity with him”. He finished off by saying, “That is the Gospel, don’t mess with it”. On hearing that I remember thinking to myself, “That’s good advice”.
There are many people who have had a great influence on my life. One of them is the evangelist Marilyn Harry. She has an amazing ability to be able to present the most complicated subjects in a way that a young child could easily understand. It’s no wonder that through the many years of her ministry that she has seen many people acknowledge Jesus is lord of their lives. I have known her for a long time I know and that she gives all the Glory to God.
As a young salesperson, part of my job involved explaining and selling complicated financial investment products. I was taught that during the presentations that I should occasionally ask questions like, “Does that make sense”?, or, “Do you follow me”? This simple approach always seemed to work because clients would always let me know if they didn’t understand. The important part being, my presentation was part of a conversation and not a lecture that literally went over my customers head”.
We were also taught an important concept that was, “Telling was not selling”. It was drummed into us that if your presentation was complicated or you droned on and on, you would eventually talk yourself out of the sale and effectively buy the product back from the customer.
Let me make it clear, in no way are we trying to sell the gospel. But truth is that the principle still applies. If we complicate the message, or we don’t involve the listener in the conversation it is very likely that we will lose the person we are talking to. It is really vital then, that we keep things simple and think about the way that we explain the most important truth there is there to know.
The seven C’s of communication explains that conversation should be:
Clear: Be clear about your message. If you’re not sure, then your listener won’t be sure either.
Concise: When you are concise in your communication, you keep to the point and keep it simple.
Concrete: When your message is concrete, it will be easier for your listener to understand.
Correct: In simple terms, correct communication is good communication.
Coherent: Using coherent communication means that your listener will easily be able to understand what you’re saying.
Complete: if your message is complete, your listener will have all the information they need to understand.
Courteous: Make sure that your conversation is open, friendly and above all honest.
Be objective and ask yourself the following questions. How do I come across when I share the gospel message? Do I talk too much? Do I overwhelm my listener? Do I ask questions to get understanding? When I share the gospel am I making a conversation or am I just telling the message.
Like me, you probably had a teacher at school that used to teach only through the medium of speech. In other words, they would just go on and on and leave the class in a bored stupor. For the first two years of my senior schooling, I loved the subject of geography. However, my enjoyment of the subject dramatically declined when a new teacher who taught us just by speaking took over the class. We need to make that we are not the same.
Keep it lively, be enthusiastic and keep it simple.