So, you’re hanging out with your friends and you would really like to share something about your faith…do you chicken out or do you take the plunge and, in a break in the conversation, dive right into the “Romans Road” or the 4 spiritual laws? Many people choose to chicken out because they assume that there are only two possibilities: remain silent or share the full Gospel with someone. Fortunately, there are easier and more natural ways to have a spiritual conversation with a friend.
Last weekend, I attended Mission ConneXion in Portland and sat in on a very helpful workshop lead by apologist Dr. Brent Strawsburg, Founder of Brent Strawsburg Apologetics. Dr. Strawsburg spoke about several ways to share your faith and I wanted to pass one on to you: how to turn a conversation toward spiritual things.
In a culture that increasing rejects the Bible, rejects moral absolutes, and sees Jesus as only a good teacher, jumping right in with a Scripture-heavy approach may shut down the conversation before it starts. Rather than the all-or-nothing approach, Dr. Strawsburg shared several easy ways to naturally turn a conversation toward spiritual things.
Listen for certain conversation topics and then ask questions.
Some conversation topics that occur quite frequently naturally lend themselves to a deeper spiritual conversation. These topics include:
- Morality or evil
- One’s life purpose
- The complexities of the universe
If a friend introduces one of these topics into the conversation, follow up with some questions to help deepen the discussion in a natural way. For example, if a friend says something like “You shouldn’t judge other people” you might ask what they mean by that, how they came to that conclusion, or if there are any situations in which it is ok to judge someone’s actions. Keep asking questions to help you understand your friend’s point of view and to help you introduce your own views.
(For some great advice about asking good questions, check out Greg Koukl’s excellent book, Tactics. This book should be a must read for any follower of Jesus.)
Ask questions that elicit a reciprocal question.
Certain questions you ask are naturally reciprocated. For example, if you were to ask someone “What do you do for a living?” it is likely that they will ask you this same question once they are done speaking. There are many of these types of questions that are commonly reciprocated, so if you ask them, not only will you get to know your friend better but it will give you the chance to share your own beliefs. Some common questions of this sort are:
- What did you do this weekend?
- What are your biggest passions or interests?
- What has made the biggest difference in your life?
These questions are natural in any conversation and can help you turn a conversation toward spiritual things.
Dr. Strawsburg concluded by saying, “turning a conversation is 50% sensitivity and 50% preparation.” In other words, you should be listening attentively in your conversation, sensitive for topics or openings that can help you turn the conversation to more spiritual things. In addition, you should be prepared with good questioning habits, an ability to clearly state your own beliefs, and the ability to offer evidence for the Christian worldview.
So, friends, equip yourselves to offer the reasons for your faith and keep your ears open in all your conversations. Pray that the Holy Spirit can help you on both accounts! Remember, talking about spiritual things doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing approach. Turning a conversation in a natural way can be an easy way to start having deeper spiritual conversations with your friends.
As mentioned above, Greg Koukl’s book Tactics gives believers conversation tactics to better equip them to participate is spiritual conversations.