Could Gary Comer’s Soul Whisperer help Shane?
A review of Gary Comer’s Soul Whisperer: Why the Church Must Change the Way It Views Evangelism.
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Written by Edna Davidsen ∴ Friday, March 3, 2017, updated February 6, 2018
“Yet Jesus was so much more than an orator. He was not only a storyteller - he was a story creator. If we are to assimilate his skills, we will have to learn his ways of story creating, too” (Gary Comer: Soul Whisperer)
Shane and his Boss
Shane is in the military and has been for a while. He loves to share the gospel with anyone and everyone. It’s something he’s passionate and excited about. On Christianforums.com, Shane introduces himself December 5th, 2016: “I am a long-time Christian and have absolutely no qualms about sharing the gospel with anyone and everyone. Actually, I'd say it's the opposite. I LOVE sharing the gospel with others. It's something I'm passionate and excited about! But what do you do, when you run into a case of ‘refusal to hear’?” Shane asks a relevant question, “What should he do when he talks to people, who refuse to hear about Jesus?” Shane operates on a two-man team. He likes his boss. He says: “My boss and I get along absolutely great, so no complaints there. I'd say we're pretty good friends.”But Shane has a problem, and as he says:“I would imagine I'm not alone here”I believe he’s right. Many Christians can relate to his situation. Shane cares about his boss. He’s concerned what eternity holds for him. One day at work, he brings up the topic, but gets an unexpected answer: “He (the boss) tells me he's an atheist and has no interest in anything I have to say about God." Shane and his boss have talked about the subject since, but Shane says, “he's only being friendly and letting me talk.” He describes his boss as intelligent, warm and friendly. “He’s careful not to damage our friendship,” as Shane puts it. As they have talked about the topic, Shane learned his boss was brought up in faith, belonging to Church of the Nazarene. But he felt uncomfortable with the church's practices, so he turned away. Fifteen years after he left the church, his boss has concluded there is no God, and if there were even the slightest possibility of His existence, he still probably wouldn't care. The situation is a deadlock. Shane believes beyond doubt, God exists. His friend believes with one hundred percent certainty there is no God. On the Christian forum, Shane asks: “What to do?”
I believe Gary Comer’s book Soul Whisperer: Why the Church Must Change the Way It Views Evangelism, could provide him with answers. In an interview with the author Kathy Harris Gary Comer says: “I hope my writing, teaching, training will inspire men and women into a deeper missional discipleship with Jesus. In many ways, my passion is discipleship. I want to see people walk and talk as He did. Being called to fulfill what He started, I hope Christians of all types might see Him more clearly and serve Him more fruitfully.” It’s a clear goal: Inspire to a deeper missional discipleship with Jesus and something Shane as a missional man can use. Gary Comer’s book, will teach him to see, walk and talk like Jesus did. It’ll help him continue what Jesus began. Shanes does a good job. In the situation above, he just needs new tools. Soul Whisperer will motivate Shane with instructions and skills, how to proceed with his boss. The book will give Shane a desire to practice new techniques. I like to mention Gary Comer’s website. Shane could visit it as well. He can get inspiration from Gary Comer and his team there.
A Competent Writer
In another interview with Church Management Solutions Gary Comer describes his journey by three ‘S’s:Secular Skeptic Sinner Unlike Shane’s boss, Gary Comer grew up outside church. After reading Soul Whisperer I like to add an extra S for being a skillful writer. The book is among the most well-written Christian books I’ve read. Even though some terms might be new for Shane, he expands his understanding. Gary Comer uses every concept with examples, so it’s easy to understand what they mean. Reading Soul Whisperer, will provide Shane with an “evangelistic mapping,” (Gary Comer: Soul Whisperer p. 247). Gary Comer talks about the path. He says: “A path marks a journey. Just because a path exists does not mean you will make it, but often a path is necessary to get there.” This is Shane's problem. He knows where he wants to go (reaching his friend/boss) but doesn't know how to get there. Gary Comer emphasize the importance knowing where to take people, and in the book, he shows how to do it, with Jesus as an example.
Context: Books, Film, Culture
Gary Comer writings are based on a broad context, from books, films, and culture. To show how broad, I’ve listed the movies, Gary Comer uses in the book:Braveheart Contact Excalibur Expelled Inception Jaws Lady in the Water Lost Miracle Schindler’s List The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison The King’s Speech The Lord of the Rings The Making of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws The Princess Bride The snow walkerIt was straightforward to produce this list, because the book has an eminent bibliography. If Shane and his boss have the time, they could watch some of the movies; they’re great.
My favorite from the list The snow walker is about an American cargo pilot and an Eskimo woman in Canada. Because I live in Greenland, I can relate. I like the way Gary Comer uses the Bible in Soul Whisperer. It gives a natural flow. Whenever he uses a quote, point or a story from the Bible or another author, it’s easy for Shane or me to follow him.
Gary Comers Language
I characteristics Gary Comer’s writing this way:Vivid language Relevant message Broad references (authors, movies, culture, personal experiences, always with a point)
Email from a Friend
When reading Soul Whisperer, Shane will not feel ‘talked down to’. The honesty Gary Comer shows in the book opens the reader’s mind. Shane will relax because the identification is there at once. He will nod with gratefulness as Gary confirms what we experience in the attempt to tell the gospel. Reading Soul Whisperer, when Shane’s off duty, will be like getting a supportive email from a friend.
In the quote from Kathy Harris, Gary Comer said, he wants to see people walk and talk as Jesus did. In the book, he describes how churches have problems reaching non-believers, just as Shane has. It’s relieving to hear a pastor say, “You can only learn so much in a church pew,” because “if you do not engage with those outside the faith - your spirituality will be truncated.” (Gary Comer: Soul Whisperer p. 25) Shane engage with those outside the faith. That’s what we should do. The problem, as Gary Comer describes it in the book, is the way many Christians tell non-believer about Jesus and faith. It needs to be aligned with the new context. But to adapt to the new reality, we need honesty while asking ourselves if we have lost touch with the real world? People avoid attending church today. How do we deal with it? Big questions, but the book helps with the answers.
Soul Whisperer is about the Bible’s BIG PICTURE. It suggests a complete and dramatic change how to approach people with the gospel. Gary Comer describes three dominating values in modern culture:Honesty Transparency Truth I love the passage in Soul Whisperer, where Gary describes when he travelled with a atheist friend for nine months, and afterward six months with his theistic skeptic friend. The story has an amazing end, I’ll avoid to write it here 🙂 The reason I love it, is because it’s an example how powerful the techniques in the book are.
Shane’s boss had a personal experience leading to the views about church and God. Today’s non-believers want’s to see we’re for real. Shane will learn to identify the right time and the right place from Gary Comer’s book. AND he will learn how he can tap into his personal experience. It allows him to connect with his boss on a deeper spiritual level. This technique is what Gary Comer calls “working on their site of the fence.” When Shane learns how to talk to his boss on equal ground, he will be amazed to see what God can do. It’s less about telling his boss about Jesus, and more about helping him to hear what God has to say.
We’re all Equal
Shanes doesn’t have to be afraid if he will damage the relationship with his boss with the new techniques from Soul Whisperer. The boss will respect him. The way Shane talks to his boss, will not fill the boss with guilt. He will not find Shane irritating and intimidating because he has learned, the relationship is key to winning a person’s heart. The new way of understanding the connection between relating and evangelism, Shane learns from the book, enable him to be an even more valuable disciple in God’s kingdom than he already is. Right now, he doubts how to proceed, but from the readings, he gets a new intentionality. He learns to appreciate the difficulties and the process while building his skills as a witness for Jesus the new way, the Soul Whisperer way. He realizes it’s about influence instead of telling. It’s easier to influence after having listened to Gary Comer’s gentle evangelism-critic of the church today.
To Sum Up
Gary Comer’s manages to show the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to share the gospel based on a solid understanding of today’s Christians. When we use Gary Comer’s suggestions, being real, building meaningful relationships with non-believers as well as being transparent with struggles and failures, sharing our faith becomes a pleasure. With the new Soul Whisperer way, we’ll experience fewer situations like the one Shane tells about. We’ll get positive responses instead of negative. Gary Comer’s: Soul Whisperer: Why the Church Must Change the Way It Views Evangelism is a perfect balance between reasoned arguments, and comes with a superb bibliography. It'll leverage the possibility for you to continue what you’ll begin with this book.
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