Starting a conversation about spiritual things can seem like the most difficult and scariest part of witnessing. We can talk freely with our friends about many topics, but are at a loss when we want to bridge the gap between everyday life and the Lord. What does driving to work every morning or playing sport have to do with our spiritual lives? How can we ask them a question (based on an everyday situation) that will cause their thoughts to leap into the realm of spiritual things?
The following points are just a few tips to help you in sharing the gospel. The great news is that it doesn’t depend on your personality. Anybody can carry a spiritual conversation with another person when they consider these five simple tips...
Religious events such as Easter and Christmas are a great time to talk about spiritual things without it being awkward. This is the perfect time to learn how to be intentional in your relationships, and really think about how your daily conversations could go deeper to a more spiritual conversation. To start the discussion, it’s always helpful to open with a question and allow the conversation to flow from there. A great opening question might be “what does Easter mean to you?”. No doubt this will get people thinking about their own spirituality.
At Alpha, we always encourage people to ask questions. When talking about spiritual things, it can be easy to make statements without actually understanding the ‘why’ behind it. Why does that person believe what they believe? Asking questions is an opportunity to discover not only what people believe but why. Many people have never thought through their views and don’t know why they hold them. Another reason this questioning approach is so worthwhile is that by asking questions we clarify what the other person actually believes, rather than what we think they believe. We can then engage with their genuine beliefs, rather than beliefs we’ve assumed they hold.
When engaging in spiritual conversation, it’s important to know your audience. Many people don’t have a Christian background. This means that the way we answer questions in church or a Bible study may be very different than with people who have never stepped inside a place of worship. Unchurched people don't always share the same presuppositions e.g. they don't assume that the Bible has any authority. Thus, we can't just quote Bible verses.
Always end the conversation well. Know that the work you have started, the Lord will complete. Remember, God will always be the One working in that person’s heart long after you have talked with them. Always aim to end on a good note so that if the person wants to re-visit the conversation later, they will feel comfortable to do so.
Most importantly, don’t forget to pray. Not just before, but also ask for God's help while you’re with them. But here's a tip – don't say it out loud. We often forget, but need to remember, that sharing the gospel is God’s work, and He has given us the privilege of being a part of it. Because of this, the first step in sharing Jesus is always prayer and lots of it. It’s important to pray for particular people, opportunities, the right words to say, courage and that our lives are a light in the world to those around us. However, be mindful of God’s sovereignty, knowing that whatever mistakes we might make, God’s plans will not be stopped.