God changes people through them hearing His Word and through that Word being applied into their lives by the Holy Spirit. I believe that! Accordingly, I want to give myself to bringing the Word into the church where I serve my Lord. But to then conclude that is the only means through which I need to engage with the people is folly. We must conduct ourselves towards the people in such a way that we win a hearing for the Word.
One important way is in remembering the details of people’s lives. Hospital appointments, health conditions, works situations, the results of the sports they participated in, their holidays. When these things are remembered and sensitively enquired of, something very significant is happening in the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. The sheep are learning that the shepherd has an interest in them; he cares for them. Through this they are led to be open to hearing the Word. They do so because when they hear that shepherd preach they know that he is not just blaring out words into a vacuum. Rather they come from one who is interested in them.