Tripp encourages us to recognize a “God-given entry gate” in to a particular person’s experience of the situation, problem, or relationship. It is not what I think the person is struggling with but listening to what the person states they see as the problem. You can recognize entry gates by listening with purpose and focusing on the person in the middle of the problem. He specifically lists four things we ought to listen for: (1) Emotional words; (2) Interpretive words; (3)Self Talk; and (4) God Talk. We meet them where they are. We need to let the person know that we heard her struggle. We need to let the person know that God is there and that he understands the struggle. We need to let the person know that we will stand with him or her.
Furthermore, Tripp unpacks the ways God uses us to change people. As ambassadors, it is not just what we say but who we are and what we do. We are examples to others. He quotes Col 3:12-17 and notes that Christ calls us to biblical readiness for the ministry opportunities he will bring us as he changes us through the ministry of others. This involves process as well as content, manner as well as message. We must first put on Christ – God works through the fruits of the spirit that we display to others as we are speaking to them.
Tripp, Paul. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. P&R, Phillipsburg. 2002