Not too long ago I listened to K. P. Yohannan as he spoke on the radio about effective communication of the Good News. His mother tongue is spoken in the sub-continent. As he took studies in America he struggled with effective use of English to deliver his burden. His messages were often full of the rigid language of theology and Pauline terms of reference. His listeners had trouble catching it.
Mentor and teacher David Mains told him to address his crowds, whether assembled or over radio airwaves, with the impression that he was speaking in earnest to the need of just one person. This made the colloquial and commonplace very important. At first he could not venture into this exercise. He eventually decided to post on his very microphone the following note:
“Please do not preach to me. I cannot take it in. I am just one person, and I would rather that you talk to me.”
He remembers the case of an abused woman’s letter directed to his ministry. He took it into his broadcast. He found himself weeping in his delivery. He knew that he had touched a heart, a single heart with “bread”.
I say this to all communicators of the Gospel. GIVE ‘EM BREAD! The life essence of Jesus to be ingested, not concepts or ethics or should-do’s or anecdotes or “how I spent my summer vacation”. Your opportunity to speak is much too important. You deliver the oracles of God as if over coffee and a casual meeting.
Doug Blair, Waterloo, Ontario