4/6 16 Allan 55
“Starting Gospel Conversations, Part 2”. Yesterday I posted about starting outreach conversations by just being honest up front with a direct question like “What do you think happens after this life?” So let’s say you asked that question, now what? I know what NOT to do – don’t criticize the first belief you disagree with! It doesn’t take long but it does take at least a few minutes to show that you are a good listener and willing to have a real two-way conversation.
For example, yesterday I talked with Allen, 55, who initially looked very skeptical to my approaching him on the sidewalk with my unexpected question, but who really brightened up and became engaged when I followed up by asking "In other words, do you think there is more to us than just our physical bodies, like some sort of spiritual existence?" It made him think of several incidents he has had with ghosts, which he enthusiastically told me about. Although he is only superficially religious, his ghost experiences make him feel like he has an "in" with God. He isn't interested in reading the Bible, but stories of the paranormal fascinate him. I believed him to be deceived by false spirits that distract him from a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus, but at this early point in the conversation, any push-back would have caused him to shut down and stop sharing about something that was clearly important to him.
It was more important to find what we had in common and to win his trust, so I congratulated him on his belief in the spiritual realm. "In fact, the Bible teaches that we have a soul that will live on into eternity long after we die, so the spiritual realm is actually more real than the physical things in this world which are just temporary. It's good that you take that seriously!" He appreciated the compliment, and we went on to a great conversation about what else the Bible says about our relationship with God and eternity.
Most people have some sort of unbiblical beliefs that can distract us from the main thing - their relationship with Jesus, and these can either cause roadblocks in our conversations about the Gospel, or they can be clues as to how best to share the Gospel with them. Let's not let any distractions, spiritual or otherwise, stop us from keeping the main thing, the main thing!