[dillon burroughs] on the value of listening in evangelism

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

February 8, 2010

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What’s one of the most effective tools that should be in your evangelism toolkit? Many people often think that it’s about knowing the five (or other number) steps in a special method, or being able to make a convincing apologetic argument.

But one of the most effective things that one can do when evangelizing is to just shut up and listen to the person that you are with. It’s when we show an interest in things that are important to them by listening to what they have to say (without our commentary), we then build a trust and a connection that may give us the opportunity to share aspects of our faith.

In this segment of our conversation Dillon shares an experience from the research that he did for one of his books in which listening opened the door for him to share his faith…


Check out the rest of this conversation in the christian evangelism 101 series.


  1. Bradley J. Moore

    AMEN to this! Evangelical Christians have kind of lost the fine art of listening, and get way too wrapped up in “telling.” This one-sided approach can end up having the opposite affect – tuning out the listener.

  2. Bradley J. Moore

    BTW, your website design ROCKS! Tell me how you set this up.

  3. @bibledude

    The art of listening is one that needs to be recovered in the church in a big way. I also think that many of us need to learn how to let go of our need to 'be right' (as opposed to 'doing right'). So I couldn't agree with you more Brad! Thanks for popping by!

  4. bondChristian

    Yes, I often like to say, “God wants righteousness, not rightness.” Rightness is all about truth, which is important. But truth along only kills. It's the grace on the other side that when combined with truth brings life.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  5. @bibledude

    Dude… that is some serious wisdom right there! This is a pretty important idea that more people need to get a hold of…

    Thanks Marshall! It's always great to hear from you!

  6. Ann Kroeker

    I agree, Dude–listening is so crucial to deepening trust in any relationship. Someone reminded me one time that listening is more than just *not talking*. Actively listening seeks to truly understand the other person, making sure we hear what they're really trying to say. In this way, by humbly restraining our own desire to be heard and listening to understand, we show respect and love. I imagine that any human being who feels heard, respected and loved is going to be more receptive to what someone has to say. Thanks for reminding us to listen.

  7. @bibledude

    Trust is the key… and I love how you state that “by humbly restraining our own desire to be heard and listening to understand, we show respect and love.” The fact that you point out the humility that is required is a big issue in itself. I think the reason that this is a difficult issue is that we let our ego take over and we can't help but to make the conversation about us…

    Thanks for sharing some great wisdom Ann! This is definitely a worthwhile conversation!

  8. bondChristian

    Yeah, for me, it's something that's taken a long time just to understand intellectually. I'm still a far cry from being able to live it.

    (On another note, what's up with that metaphor/cliche? “Far cry”? What does that even mean? I have no idea where that came from. I humbly apologize.

    …okay, off topic over.)

    -Marshall Jones Jr.


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[dillon burroughs] on the value of listening in evangelism

by Dan King time to read: 1 min