Friday, December 19, 2008

How to Win and Influence People

In June of 1958 I had a fearful and wonderful encounter with God's Spirit. It changed my life and I Ford I heard the still small voice of the Spirit say, "Go to college." That was amazing because I was not really "college material" nor did my family and friends encourage such flights of irresponsible fancy. (Working in a factory was responsible and practical.)

So, I quit my factory job and applied to Mt. Vernon Community College. I had to learn to study and learn how to interact with educated students and teachers. I loved it and discovered that I was not as dumb as I seemed. I was newly motivated and newly interested in studying.

I studied to be a teacher and that led me to what were back then called, "Teachers' Education Classes" at Southern Illinois University. Those classes helped me a lot because they focused on how to not only understand math and reading but also how to transmit it to the kids. In other words, how to see to it that the kids learned from me.

I was a pretty good student in Elementary School. I read well and remembered a lot of it. So, I thought it was all about remembering the data that was put in front of me. I was wrong. I found that it was important to get the pupils engaged in the materials in such a way that they WANTED to remember it. How could I motivate the pupils to be learners.

You can lead the horse to water but you cannot make him drink.

This old saw was right. I knew it but I had never studied how to make the horse thirsty before I took those classes in Educational Psychology. Now here is my point. How do we help people outside the church desire the living water?

This is an issue of great importance to us. People will not come to faith in Christ or attend worship, read the Bible or practice the charitable activities of the Christian life unless they are attracted to those things. So, how do we become more attractive while holding to the foundations of our faith?

What do you think? What has helped you draw others to Christ and His life?

Gary Sweeten

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