The Art of Spiritual Conversations

As we prepare to move into our new space next week, I am excited at the idea of my new office.  It has been years since I have had an office to call my own.  I haven’t had a functional bookshelf to house my many books in almost 10 years.  I’m even trying to decide what our office hours policy will be.  

One of my convictions is that I won’t completely abandon my coffee shop study, however.  Last Wednesday is a perfect example of why.

As I was examining some financial minutiae, one of my friends that I met 4 or 5 years ago at a coffee shop came over to say hi.  Although we usually say “hello” and chat for a moment, this conversation quickly transformed into me sharing the gospel with him (not the first time nor will it be the last).  As I was talking with him, I was amazed at this conversation because sharing the gospel in a coffee shop (it’s cliche, I know) was not on my radar today.  I had stuff to do.  I was quickly able to rejoice in my heart as I told him why I love Jesus.  He told me some of his convictions, namely that he doesn’t worry about anything beyond this life.

He said, “You are the only friend I have that I can have a conversation like this.  Everyone else gets so defensive”.  It was this comment that I think is at the heart of having a sincere spiritual conversation with someone who isn’t a Christian.  I don’t want to come off as someone who shares the gospel everyday in a coffee shop, but I do try to keep my eyes open for opportunities, especially when I’m talking with people that I’ve been praying for or trying to talk with about Jesus.

If you’ve ever said, ‘I’m not good at sharing my faith or having spiritual conversations’, I offer you one suggestion.  Don’t have an agenda.  Simply get to know people.  Eventually the conversation will get spiritual if you are truly a Christ follower.  Usually this happens when the person makes a claim that doesn’t fit my beliefs.  When someone makes a claim that I disagree with, instead of confronting them, I simply tell them what I believe.  I don’t have to change their mind.  I simply tell them what I see through my belief in God or my Christian worldview.  

Here are a few things I’ve noticed about starting a spiritual conversation:

A spiritual conversation should be easy to start.  It shouldn’t feel awkward to tell someone my beliefs, especially if I really believe those beliefs.
A spiritual conversation should be an easy conversation, not a debate that must be defended at all costs.  There shouldn’t be a loser in a conversation.

A spiritual conversation should flow out of my existing thoughts and beliefs.  If I haven’t taken the time to form coherent beliefs and how to articulate my beliefs, I will always struggle in a spiritual conversation.  I will become defensive or at the very least, uninteresting.  The key to a spiritual conversation (or any conversation, for that matter) is to have something to say.  I form my beliefs through personal study in the mornings, listening to others, and most of all- conversing with other Christians.  If I never study, listen, or converse with Christians about my beliefs, I’ll never be able to articulate them with others.

That’s just my two cents….

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