2/16/15 Don about 40
As Christians we want to share the good news of Jesus, but how do we start the conversation? With people we know and do life with, it happens in the context of relationships, but how can we start the conversation with people we come in contact with only momentarily, on the highways and byways of life, in the street and in the marketplace? Not everyone has time to talk, but look all around, there are many people who do and would be willing to engage in a gospel conversation if you demonstrate early on that you are willing to listen. After gaining permission to ask an “interesting question”, I usually begin by asking “What do you think happens after this life, if anything?” Maybe I could be more creative, but it’s usually the first time most people have been asked their opinion on a question like this. It is a general question that opens the door to a spiritual conversation with almost anyone I meet. It assumes nothing, and allows me to respond to wherever they might be in their beliefs. No matter what the response, a follow-up question is often “Have you always believed this, or were you raised in a different spiritual background?” I love to hear about the process by which people have come to their present place of spiritual belief. A man named Don, a fellow shopper at a Menards, grew up in and still attends a Lutheran Church, and has a strong faith in Jesus for salvation. At first he was confused how to articulate this, pointing to his good works as evidence that he is a Christian. But after a friendly conversation about whether our good works save us or are the result of being saved, Don could see it is important to be able to recognize the difference. We talked for maybe ten minutes, and I don’t believe this helpful conversation would have happened if I had just begun by “shooting the breeze” and hoping a spiritual conversation would naturally happen. Jesus said to “Go” into all the world, and I believe this means having the boldness to be intentional about beginning witnessing conversations.