At some point, if you are sincere about your Christian faith, you are going to have a conversation with someone about it. Or are you?
Let me back up a minute, if “being a Christian” is something you take seriously, you are probably going to THINK about having a conversation with someone about it. AND—you may wonder HOW to have that conversation.
Listen, I have been a Christian my whole life and have also been a thoughtful student of the human art of conversation for years and I find this thing—“sharing my faith”—incredibly hard to do.
But I WANT to—I really want to. I actually believe that meeting Jesus on this side of heaven will make life richer and more joyful and more peaceful than anything else available to us. There is a tenacity and fierceness to God’s love through Jesus that holds people firmer in the face of life’s struggles than anyone can imagine.
I want everyone to know this.
Well, the key is figuring out how to start, how to continue the conversation, and eventually, how to let it go.
Join me here:
Relationships are complicated. Communication between two individuals is often fraught with misunderstanding. The timing isn’t always right and sometimes you are just not in the mood.
But despite all that, I want to let you in on a few key principles that you absolutely need to know before you take this type of conversation on.
Here they are:
1. Move Past Your Own Assumptions.
Often, we have already pre-decided what someone thinks about God.
You may know that a person doesn’t attend church regularly so you assume that they think spiritual things are irrelevant. Really? Why continue to assume that, if there is no evidence to support it? You haven’t asked the person yet. Yes, there is a risk in asking, but make sure your preconceived hunch is not cheating you out of a conversation you are both interested in having.
Statistically, we know that more people are interested in faith conversations than not. If you play the odds, the person you are sitting across from is more likely wishing you would bring it up.
2. Express a Genuine Interest.
Don’t begin with your baptism story.
First, ask him how he is doing, ask how she is really doing. And then, listen. Your first several conversations may never include a single idea of your own. Ask about life and ideas and plans and achievements and concerns and anxieties. Be intentionally respectful.
You should hear yourself saying, “What do you think about that?” “How did you come to feel this way?” “What’s it like for you when that happens?” Validate. Empathize. Be motivated by a genuine desire to engage. When their story breaks your heart, because real life has a way of doing that, tell them you don’t know what to say, but politely offer that when you have been similarly at the very end of yourself, you have prayed about it. Because that is being honest—the last time you had no idea how to fix your broken heart, you prayed—and by offering to do for someone else what you would do for yourself, you are caring for them.
If you don’t care about this person, you don’t get to nudge the conversation into the faith-arena. You don’t get to invite them to church. You don’t get to share your spiritual opinions.
So if you find yourself engaged in a conversation with someone, and get distracted or caught up with some selfish thoughts, stop thinking you will share your faith with them. You shouldn’t. First comes the caring and then comes the sharing. Your first conversation earns you the right to the next conversation. Keep this top of mind.
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Source: Church Leaders