In “Wrote a Song for Everyone,” a song by CCR, one of my favourite bands, John Fogerty talks about the failure of communication in marriage and how problems with communication have plagued us for millennia.
Communication is pivotal to all of our relationships – personal, professional and spiritual. As ambassadors for Christ, we must be good communicators or people will not understand our message.
So what does it take to become a good communicator?
First, we must learn to be a good listener.
Second, we must learn to wait and think before we speak.
Third, we must learn how to respond gently.
As Jesus’ brother tells us in James 1:19 – “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
Look at the world’s greatest leaders and you’ll find them all to be exceptional communicators. They might talk about their ideas, but they do so in a way which also speaks to our emotions and our aspirations.
Great leaders realize if their message doesn’t take deep root with their audience then it likely won’t be understood, much less remembered.
Jesus provides the perfect example for us to follow.
What can we learn from Jesus, the Master Communicator, as we seek to reach others for Him?
Here are 5 reasons why people loved being around Jesus, and listened to His message:
1. In Matthew 7:28-29 we read that Jesus spoke ‘as one who had authority’.
When we communicate the message of Jesus to others, we need to know what we’re talking about! Look at Paul in Acts 17, he was able to present the Gospel to the top philosophers of his day and didn’t even quote one scripture! It’s not about being able to quote lots of scripture verses – although it is important to know scripture well. It’s about having a vibrant faith and a deepening relationship with Christ – and inspiring others to experience this too.
2. Jesus was friendly!
In Luke 7:34, the Pharisees referred to Jesus as the ‘friend of sinners’.
Jesus spoke in a way that people understood. He spoke the language of the people. People like to be around someone who is friendly and down to earth, and affirmation is always a better way to win people than antagonism!
3. Jesus was an incredible storyteller.
In Luke 15, Jesus draws the crowd with three simple yet powerful stories about some lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. He was creative in how he communicated the Father’s love for ‘lost’ people. Remember, people connect with people before they connect with truth. It is important for us to communicate our story well!
4. Jesus empathized with people.
In Matthew 8:3, Jesus ‘touched’ the leper. In other words, he touched the untouchable and empathized with his need. In John 11:35, ‘Jesus wept’ at the funeral of Lazarus. Again, this emphasizes the care and compassion of Jesus. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.
5. Jesus was not quick to condemn.
In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees tested Jesus to see how He would treat the woman caught in adultery. Jesus didn’t respond to their challenge, and remained silent until the woman’s accusers had gone. He refused to publicly shame her, and instead gave her hope and value.
There is always hope – even for those who seem hopeless.
THIS is the power of the Gospel.
As we enter this new year, it is my hope that each one of us will follow the example of Jesus, and learn to communicate the Good News more effectively with those who do not yet know Him.
As we learn to communicate more effectively in 2019, I hope you will also join me in reflecting on the many accomplishments of our ministries over the last year.
Please take the time to read each ministry’s 2018 Year in Review (linked to their logo), thank Jesus for His provision, and celebrate a job well done!