by Jack Hyles
c Isn’t that what faith is? Believe that God is going to save somebody. Expect to win them. Go believing. God said He would save sinners if you would go. That is His promise. “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Don’t be surprised when God keeps His promise. Go believing.
9. BE NICE
Be nice, courteous, kind and gentle. One thing so difficult for preachers is to change our behaviour from the pulpit to the living room. You can’t act the same in the living room as you act in the pulpit. It is quite different, because you were not invited. You are infringing upon their privacy. When in the home be courteous and kind.
Many seem to think that the Lord said, “Go into all the world and teach all ladies to quit smoking cigarettes.” Now I don’t believe in smoking. We don’t allow any deacons to smoke in our church. I don’t believe in smoking, and especially in ladies smoking. However, God didn’t send us out house to house to talk to ladies into quitting smoking. God sent us out to get people converted. I’ve heard of preachers walking up to a door and addressing the lady thusly: “If you will throw that wicked weed away, I’ll talk to you.” This certainly is the wrong approach. Get her converted first; then perhaps she will throw her cigarettes away. In other words, don’t get off the subject. One day I was talking to a lady who said, “Brother Hyles, I can’t be saved because I smoke. Do you think a person can be saved who smokes?” I said, “That’s a good question. Let’s wait awhile and I’ll discuss that with you.” I said, “Do you realize that you are a sinner?” “Oh, yes,” she said, “but I’m not going to get saved because I’m not going to quit smoking.”
I said, “All right, that’s a fine question. We will wait awhile and I’ll discuss that with you.” So I told her how to be saved. I prayed and eventually she prayed and gave her heart to Jesus and was converted. After she got converted I said, “By the way, you asked something awhile ago about smoking.”
She said, “We took care of that when we prayed.” You will do a whole lot more good if you will keep on salvation, stay right on the line, and be nice and kind.
When you go to a home, be as courteous as a vacuum cleaner salesman or an insurance man. Be personable. I always say this: The first thing you have to do is win them to yourself. I don’t mean you ought to selfishly try to make friends, then get them converted as a by-product. You have to first make them think you are all right. For example, you have to have a Christianity that they feel will fit them if they put it on. If you walk up saying, “Hello. Glory to God! How are you? Praise the Lord! Glad to see you. Hallelujah!” They say, “Oh, no! If I get what he’s got, I’ll probably be like he is; no thank you, I don’t want it.” A pleasant “How do you do. How are you?” is always in order. The first thought they should have is, “He is a nice fellow,” or “She is a pleasant lady.”
10. BE COMPLIMENTARY
Everytime you go to a home, brag on something. We live in a selfish world. It is good to say, “You sure have a nice suit,” or “Isn’t that a precious child?” Make it a habit. Develop it inwardly. It should be part of your nature. One of the sins of the ministry is professional gratitude. Did you ever hear it? We often say, “Mrs. Jones, that was a good meal,” but we don’t mean a word of it. Stop and think. Mrs. Jones started cooking two days ago. She made her husband put his shoes outside the door when he came in and walk in barefoot to keep the floor nice. Those poor little ones couldn’t even come in the house. They couldn’t even use a towel. They had to use paper towels for two days to keep the towels clean for the preacher. The poor little things ate boloney for three days before you came to save so the lady could buy the nicest center-cut roast. She got the finest of everything, put out her best china, her best silver, her best crystal. She is as nervous as a cat. The preacher is coming! Now listen, stop and think about that; then look at her when you finish the meal and with a heart full of appreciation, say, “Mrs. Jones, I know what you’ve done for this meal, and I appreciate, personally, the work you’ve done to make this possible.” Take the professionalism out of it and make it a part of yourself to want to be grateful and expressive of gratitude to people in the home. The best thing to brag on is children. Be able to compliment little children. Man, listen. I can come in your home and say a few things about your young’uns and I’m a great fellow, regardless of what I’ve done wrong. We had an insurance man in Texas who used to bother me to no end. He would say, “If you loved your family, you’d have more insurance.” I would answer, “If I loved my family, I would sell what I’ve got now and spend the money to buy food for them.” I hated to see him coming.
One day I was out in the yard and I saw him coming. I walked out to the curb and waited for him. When he stopped, I leaned against the door on his side, grinned at him and said, “Hello.” He didn’t even look at me. He look at my little five-year-old girl and said, “Hello, sweetheart. You’re the prettiest little girl I ever saw.”
I said, “Isn’t she though.”
My little boy came toddling out (he was three at the time) and the salesman said, “Hello there, son. You’re a fine-looking fellow. Have some chewing gum.” I said, “Won’t you get out and come in?”
Sure, he knew how to get in. He bragged on the children. I think a man who has that good judgment about children deserves to come in! So he came in. You do the same thing. Brag on the children. Compliment the home. If there is a new piece of furniture in the house, a beautiful carpet, a nice sofa or a dresser, brag on it. Be on the lookout for things to compliment.
11. BE CAREFUL ABOUT GOING IN
Now this I think is important. I do not try usually to go into the home unless the people are unsaved. If the people are saved, normally I do not go in. I don’t chit-chat much with the saints. When I do out to visit I usually make twenty visits in one afternoon. That is four hours’ work. The way I do that is to find out quickly if they are saved, pass the time of day very briefly, invite them to church and say goodby. To many of us go out to visit and when we find a good Baptist fellow who tithes, makes a big salary, and one whom we want in our church, we go in and spend the afternoon, drink coffee, eat cake and let the world go to Hell. I do not personally spend a great deal of time visiting with saints. I just keep going and keep going until I find the lost ones and spend my time with them.
Also, if it isn’t the opportune time, don’t go in. I would especially be careful about going in if the opposite sex is alone. Now a word to you men who find a lady alone. Be very careful about going in. Sometimes if the person is busy, it is good to ask her if you could make an appointment to come back later at her convenience. But be careful about going in.
12. BE A GOOD LISTENER
Talk about jobs wanted and positions open. There is lots of room in the world for some good listeners: there are many available positions open for good listeners. Did you ever hear a person say, “He sure is a fine fellow. Just a quiet, fine fellow. He is such a good listener”? So often this happens—you preachers know this is true. A lady comes into my office. “Brother Hyles, I need some advice. I just don’t know what to do. I felt like you could tell me what to do.”
“All right; present your problem.”
She talks and talks for an hour or so. I say nothing but, “God bless you. Uh huh. Well, yes.”
That is all I say for an hour. She gets up and says after an hour, “Brother Hyles, you always have the best advice. You always know just what to do.” Well, I didn’t advise anybody about anything. She just wanted somebody to unload on. That is one of the basic jobs of the pastor. Day after day they come through my office, as they do yours, wanting somebody to hear about their problems and burdens.
Go to a home and say, “Where do you work, Mr. Jones?”
“Down there at the steel company.”
“What do you do down there?”
“Well, I make steel.”
“How long have you been down there?”
“I’ve been there six months,” Mr. Jones says.
“Where are you from?” I ask.
“I’m from Tennessee.”
“Tennessee? That’s a beautiful state. I’ve been down in the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee.”
Talk to him about his interests, and let him talk to you. Ask him about his family, where he is from. Ask him where he works. Let him talk to you for a while. Personally, I’m not an advocate of quick witnessing. Some of the best soul winners I know are, but I differ with them here. I think it best to chit-chat for awhile and be folksy. Listen to them. Let them present their problems, then after awhile talk to them.
Not long ago my wife and I were going to Colorado where I was preaching in a conference near Pueblo. We were on a jet going to Denver. The wife was sitting next to the window, I was sitting in the middle, and a businessman was sitting by me. I started a conversation with him. “What kind of business are you in?” He talked to me for thirty minutes. I have never heard so much talking in my life. I didn’t have any idea what he was talking about. I just tried to act intelligent. There are a lot of basic answers, you know. He would say, “What do you thing about the geophysical problem in the United States?” I would answer, “It’s really a problem, isn’t it?”
He would say, “How do you feel we are economically?” “Oh, I feel like we’ve seen better days, but we’ve seen worse days too, you know.” Just a few basic questions and answers! Finally after he unloaded for about thirty minutes, I got to talk to him. My wife punched me and grinned. She knew what I was doing. After we got off the plane she said, “You rascal! I knew the whole time you didn’t understand a thing he was saying but you were waiting for the time when he would do the listening for awhile.” If he talked to me for thirty minutes, then wouldn’t let me talk to him for five minutes, he wouldn’t have been very kind, would he? You listen to them for awhile and you will get them to listen to you easier. Be a good listener.
by Jack Hyles from the book Let’s Go Soulwinning