Starting spiritual conversations
Most people consider themselves spiritual. There is a desire for inner peace, harmony with body and soul, or a reconnection with a higher power. While many spiritual paths are offered, few provided satisfying solutions. And sadly, there is a growing reluctance to seek out a Christian church to find answers.
We seem to be arriving at a time to employ evangelism strategies that emphasizes individual believers to go and get the Word out rather that inviting people to come and hear the Word.
How can we start spiritual conversations with people who don’t know Christ?
If you feel like a novice in the area of personal evangelism, may I offer three suggestions to help get started:
- Be willing
- Be adventurous
- Be okay
These suggestions may appear simple but are profound in helping believers step out of their comfort zones and into the world to proclaim the gospel.
What is the favorite word of a two-year-old child?
It takes faith and spiritual maturity to say yes to God.
A faith rooted in Christ declares, “I am willing to serve God instead of myself.”
A mature faith responds by praying, “Lord, you have always kept your promises before and I trust that you will do the same when I carry out what you desire me to do – share my faith with others.”
God not only graciously gives us the gospel but entrusts believers with it. The gospel is meant to be shared.
Witnessing will not change a believer’s status before God. Faith alone seals a believer’s adoption as a redeemed child of God.
Secure in his grace, believers are willing to be changed and set apart to be who God created them to be.
Preserved in his Word, believers readily confess their fears, laziness, and self-absorption so that they may be willing messengers for the sake of the gospel.
I recently attempted to install a timer switch for the outdoor lights at my house. After investing several days of flailed attempts and trips to the hardware store, my emotional energy was exhausted. Frustrated and defeated, the decision was made to call an electrician for help.
When he arrived at our house, I soon discovered that he had an adventurous spirit.
When I offered to go to our fuse box to turn off the power, he turned to me with a sly smile on his face and said, “Where’s the fun in that?”
Ten minutes later our timer was installed.
Was he foolish working with the power on? Was he over-confident in his abilities? Perhaps. But he knew what he was doing, accepted the risks, and seamlessly carried out the task.
I started thinking that evangelism is the same way.
Proclaiming the gospel is not easy, nor is it safe. There are risks involved.
Jesus gave us an example of a man with an adventurous spirit.
In the parable of the God Samaritan, several notable men – who probably ought to have known better — passed by an injured man on the side of the road. A Samaritan came by and made himself available. He went beyond what was expected by extending grace, time, and resources. He didn’t expect anything in return, nor did he stick around to receive complements or rewards. He just did it.
The desire to share our faith is a natural outpouring of faith. It’s like a fruit tree bearing good fruit or a grape vine producing grapes. By being connected to the root, fruit happens.
Believers with an adventurous spirit rooted in Christ are gospel intentional in their daily lives. Opportunities emerge like a wounded victim alongside a road who desperately needs spiritual help. Time and resources are spent for that person to deliver a message of eternal salvation. God’s grace is extended like low-hanging fruit. It just happens.
Evangelism is not easy, nor safe. It’s risky. It may seem like installing a light with the electricity on. How foolish!
An adventurous spirit secure in Christ will say, “But where’s the fun in that!”
And their life will never be the same.
My electrician understands fragile male egos.
He allowed me to be an observer and ask questions while he installed our timer. When he showed me the correct way to connect the neutral wires, I pretended like I fully understood my mistake.
He graciously told me, “That’s okay. It’s a very common thing to miss. You almost got it!”
Experience recognizes that you are going to screw up 90% of the time when you are a novice. But that’s how you get better.
Experience doesn’t compare yourself against the professionals who know what they are doing, but desires to learn.
Experience understands that it takes a great deal of effort to stand up, dust yourself off, and be willing to try again.
It requires an emotional investment. It means being okay with enduring setbacks.
Experience matters with personal evangelism.
It means being okay with the feeling that you will probably screw up.
It means being okay with feeling like a failure after you tried to proclaim the gospel.
Be encouraged that feelings of failure will dissolve when confronted with biblical truth.
In Christ, you are an expert in witnessing.
In Christ, you are a light — even when you don’t feel like it.
In Christ, you are salt — even when you feel that witnessing is tasteless.
People notice a life in Christ. Unbelievers concerned about their spiritual welfare are just as afraid to ask about our faith as we are afraid to tell them.
God isn’t asking believers to go out into the world and win debates.
He is asking believers to be a messenger so that the power of his Word can be unleashed.
And it’s going to be okay.
A delighted life in Christ proclaims the life of Christ.
An invitation to come to church doesn’t seem to be enough these days, because people are asking themselves, “Why in the world should I accept your invitation? Give me a reason why I should come?”
We already know the answer. The resurrected Christ who lived and died in our place is the object of our faith, the source of our peace, and the answer to every question. We convey to others what we already know to be true.
Evangelism means living a gospel-intentional life that breaks us out of the pattern of living for our self.
It means to be willing, adventurous and okay to give reasons for the hope we have in Christ to anybody who asks.
That’s how we can begin to have spiritual conversations in this world.
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