Alexandra Sampaio is a speech therapist in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

"Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? . . . I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone." Gal. 4:16, 20, NIV

The goal of the messenger is to lead the public to believe that the message is truly the voice of God. Therefore, messengers need an important communication “favor”: the persuasion proposal. After all, preachers don’t want to only pass on information; they also want to explain doctrine and convince listeners. That is why they make use of a series of resources capable of leading listeners to ac - cept their version as truth. But what is the mystery of those who, having little knowledge of the language and no access to the culture, are capable of leading a multitude of people? “Persuasion” is the answer. 

What is persuasion? It is more than simply shar - ing information; it means to convince someone, to make someone believe that what you are saying is the best option. You need to show your audience that your message may change their lives for the better. You need to gain their trust, and you will need to make use of all arguments that reveal your serious - ness, competence, and trustworthiness. This is called persuasion.

Persuasion is based on the message and is directly influenced by three important factors that may help it reach its goals:

1. Credibility of the source. The information has to come from a source that inspires trust. The source may be a person, book, newspaper, magazine, the In - ternet, etc. For a preacher or elder, the Word of God is the most trustworthy source.

2. The speaker’s reputation. The person intending to persuade must be interesting and attractive to the public. The public should desire to be like him or her. Remember, persuasion doesn’t have anything to do with the beauty of the speaker but with the beauty of the presentation of what is being said.

3. Attractiveness of the proposal. The proposal must somehow correspond to the needs of the pub - lic. The attraction in the speech starts when we point out facts that are a part of everyone’s lives or a reality to the public we want to reach. When we do that, we become the listeners’ “partner,” and that is funda - mental for persuasion.

Some may think that persuasion is a bad thing, for it forces a person to make a decision. However, preachers and elders should never forget that this technique is to be used with respect, certainty, and assurance. They should always remember that they are spokespersons for God.

Once you believe in what you are saying, you should act accordingly. One of the ways to know if something is true is to look at the speaker’s life. Therefore, when we look at Paul’s life and read his writings, we are persuaded to change and to live as he lived.

May we bring many people to Christ through our example!

Alexandra Sampaio is a speech therapist in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.