Let’s face it. Beginning conversations in general can be difficult. They may even feel awkward or forced. We often don’t know how to begin and fear being rejected. Some of us may avoid starting conversations altogether — especially when it comes to starting conversations about faith.
The truth is, I get nervous every time I start to talk to someone about spiritual matters. But God did not call us to remain silent. He commissioned us to share the hope that we have in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). To do that, we must be willing to start a conversation.
But how do we break the ice and start those spiritual conversations with the people around us?
Pray. First, begin praying for the people in your life and for those in your community who don’t know Jesus. Praying for others not only opens the door for God to move, it breaks our hearts for the lost. Then ask God to give you the confidence to speak when the time is right.
Pay attention. When our hearts are broken for the lost, we begin to notice opportunities all around us — people who are hurting, broken and looking for hope. As you engage with the people you already know and those in your community on a daily basis, a simple question like How are you really doing today? can spark a conversation. Listen as they share about what they are dealing with. Often what they say will provide an open door for us to share the Gospel.
Dig deeper. Ask questions. Let people know that you care and are truly concerned with the situation they are facing. Don’t worry about what you will say next. Focus on the other person and their needs. You can begin to naturally shift the conversation to spiritual matters by asking questions like: How is your spiritual life? Or, if God were in your life more, do you think it would improve?
Share a story. Most people are willing to listen to you if you have shown the courtesy of listening to them. However, I still suggest asking permission first before sharing spiritual thoughts. Their agreement leaves the door wide open for you to share what God has done in your life. Keep it short. Don’t share your entire life’s story. Choose one story that is relevant to their situation, where you have personally seen God move. Not only does it open the door for a deeper conversation about faith, it often strengthens your connection with the person you are speaking to.
Not every conversation will lead to a full presentation of the Gospel, but many will. People are hungry. They are looking for answers, but most simply won’t ask. These opportunities are all around us. We just need to start the conversation.
Rev. John B. Sorensen, D.D. is the President/CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, headquartered in Arden, N.C. EE has been a leader in equipping Christians to share their faith for more than 55 years. For more free tips and resources, visit evangelismexplosion.org.