How to Start a Spiritual Conversation: One Easy Tip
If you are reading this blog, you probably are already convinced that evangelism is an essential part of the Christian life. You may even have a growing desire to engage others in conversation about spiritual things. The difficulty is that, despite such desire and motivation, it can still be hard to know how to start a spiritual conversation with others. Is there an easy way to “jump start” a spiritual conversation in everyday life that can lead to the Gospel? The answer is yes, and it is something that anyone can do! In today’s post, we are going to examine one of the many ways in which we can engage others as followers of Jesus.
Just Ask One Question
Questions are powerful ways to communicate with someone else. They invite answers and as such, they invite thinking. And our goal in evangelism is to get people thinking about where they stand with God and why they need Jesus. So, if you want to get people thinking about Jesus ask them questions!
This may be something you are already familiar with, but at times, it can still be hard to know the best question to ask in order to start a conversation about God. People are different and thus, how we approach them in conversation will vary. While this is true, I want to offer one question that I believe you can ask anyone that will:
- Disarm them
- Show that you value them and
- Get them thinking about spiritual things.
This one question is: “Can I get your opinion on something?”
Bring Their Guard Down
You see, when you ask someone for their opinion, several things happen. One is that they are likely to bring their guard down down. People enjoy giving their opinions on things because they feel strongly about them and they know them very well. Most of the time, it does not feel like a threat to give one’s opinion on something when asked. This has the overall effect of disarming any hostility or resistance there may have been to engaging in conversation about spiritual things.
Value What They Think
Second, when you ask for someone’s opinion, you show them that you value what they think and what they believe about something. Many people are not asked for their opinions on in an open way, so it stands out when you ask them what they think. To illustrate this, think about how calling someone by their name stands out. When someone addresses another person using their name, this has the effect of making them feel valued. Someone cared to learn their name, remembered it, and then called them by their name when addressing them. Learn to leverage the willingness of others to give their opinions for the sake of the gospel.
Help Them to Reflect on What They Believe
Third, asking someone what their opinion is about something means they will have to think through what they actually believe. A real, genuine response to a question is certainly not a passive enterprise. It may be that in trying to respond to a question, the person realizes they don’t actually know what they believe. They may come to the realization that they have never thought about it before.
This is a good place for them to be because, in a spiritual conversation, they have the opportunity to slow down and consider what they were asked. God can and does use this kind of thing to draw people to Himself. Jesus was a master at asking people questions that made them think about what really matters. In this way, He directed people to their need for Him. So when thinking about how to start a spiritual conversation, don’t be afraid to start small and trust God to do big things!
The Question is Not Complicated
Asking someone else what they think about a spiritual topic shows them you value what they think and helps them to think. The question “Can I get your opinion on something?” is not complicated for it can be asked of someone just about anywhere and anytime. It does not put pressure on you as the questioner but puts you in the position of a learner about where another person is at spiritually.
You don’t need to know a lot about the topic of which you ask them in order to learn what they think and you will be surprised at how the Holy Spirit can lead such a conversation. If we are prayerfully conversing with someone else, He is faithful to guide us. This is why we should be praying that God would give us and help us see opportunities for spiritual conversations. That is surely the way to ineffective ministry. The power to change someone’s heart is not in us, but in the Spirit.
How to Start a Spiritual Conversation: Value People
I am convinced that one of the major hindrances to evangelism is that we do not love and value people the way we are called to as followers of Christ. Most of the time when I don’t “feel like” talking with people about Jesus, it is because I don’t really care about them. If I don’t value others the way I should, then I certainly am not going to take the time to talk with them about spiritual things. How to start a spiritual conversation actually begins at how to value people as God does!
We need God’s help to value others the way that He does. Jesus was clear about how important it is to love our neighbor and our neighbor is anyone we come across in daily life (Luke 10:25-37). It is also clear that love for God and love for others is tied together in such a way that we cannot have one without the other (1 John 4:20-21). So, pray for God to help you value others the way that He does. Many will be familiar with a quote most often attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Along with valuing others, learn to cultivate a curiosity about what others think. Get in the habit of asking others what they think about things in daily life. If you are in the habit of asking others about what they think about earthly things, it will be easier to ask them what they think about spiritual things. In our culture, genuine conversation between people in everyday life is becoming more and more of a commodity. We are so screen oriented that if we have a free moment, we are much more likely to pull out our phones instead of talking with those around us. This kind of habit can make it hard for us to value others and care about what they think. So, focus on being more “outward” in how you carry yourself during the day.
This might be easier if you are an extrovert, but it is more challenging for those who are more introverted. As an introvert I’ve learned that I must make intentional effort to speak with others during the day, even if it is just causal conversation and being friendly. You never know what opportunities you may get just by being friendly and engaging someone else in conversation.
The central take away from this post about how to start a spiritual conversation, is that you do not need to make initiating spiritual conversations with others complicated. Get in the habit of asking people what their opinions are about spiritual things. You will be surprised at how willing most are to do so.
This “question asking” approach is much like fishing. As you ask questions of others, you will find that some respond, while others do not. That’s ok, you are not the one in control of how people respond. You are only responsible to engage. If you are interested in learning more about starting and guiding spiritual conversations in everyday life, check out our online course.