By Ralph Vencill
Since Jesus states that next to worshiping God loving our neighbors is the second most important act we can engage in as followers of God, what are we doing to address this topic? Part of our problem in carrying out this commandment resides in our inability to connect with people in a meaningful way. Here are the first five elements from Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People and how they can apply to you. I challenge you to improve on your winning ability.
1. Become genuinely interested in others.
If you truly desire to reach people, you must be interested in them, not just for the sake of adding one more “convert” to your roster. You must desire to touch their lives. If they aren’t important to you beyond a number, they will know or worse yet find out when you move on from them. Your actions have long-term effects.
2. Be a good listener.
One of the greatest skills in life and the one that opens the doors to the greatest opportunities is the ability to listen. How many conversations this week have you had where you set a goal to listen and not share a single thing? How many times did you interrupt someone in the midst of their stories? How many times did you change the subject?
3. Talk in terms of their interests, not yours.
When engaging people in conversation, pray and observe their surroundings. What appears to be a point of interest? Hone in on that and get them to talk about their interests. Make it about them.
4. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
Everyone, whether they have communicated it or not, has an intense desire to feel important. We want to be noticed for something. Take every opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of someone else. Compliment them on the things they did right regardless of how many things may have done wrong.
5. Arouse in them an eager want.
We can work all we want at telling people of their need for Jesus, but if we don’t create in them a sincere and eager desire for Jesus, our efforts will be short lived. In John 4, when Jesus encountered the woman at the well, He piqued her interest in what he had to offer by telling her that if she would ask him for a drink, she would never thirst again. The things of God will produce far-reaching effects, but those who aren’t familiar with them at times have to be shown first how relevant they are. What are you arousing in those you encounter?
By Ralph Vencill
Dr. Ralph Vencill is lead pastor at Bellbrook Community Church in Bellbrook, Ohio, and a chaplain for Ohio’s Hospice. He has pastored in Open Bible for over 25 years and served as a district director. He is a board member for the National Association of VA Chaplains. Ralph is married to Nancy and enjoys time with his children and grandchildren.