I mentioned two of the five simple ways that my wife, Chris, helps graduates of our movements who are now in the marketplace to engage others in spiritual conversations, “Sometime.” and “I wonder.” Here are the other three.
Raising a faith flag.
A Faith flag is a simple, non-threatening way to introduce faith into a conversation. It’s a brief statement and is told in the natural course of the conversation. The point is simply to identify you as a person of faith.
Suppose someone mentions that she is discouraged. You might say something like “I was discouraged recently and a friend gave me a set of truth cards with some Bible verses. That was such an encouragement to me.” Or maybe you share a specific answer to prayer.
What you are doing is looking to see how they respond to the topic of faith. Just as a flag on a ship identifies its nationality, faith flags are all about identity. Do they shoot at the flag or do they salute it?
Telling a spiritual story.
If a faith flag is a brief statement, a spiritual story is about some way God has worked in your life. It’s still short, maybe only 30 seconds or a minute in length. It is a way to see the truth lived out in your life.
Stories speak to emotions first, often bypassing the listeners’ prejudices. Because people remember stories, the hearer will take what you’ve said away with them and think about it at a time and pace of their choosing. And in our Post-Modern world, where truth is personal and experiential, people base decisions as much on emotions as facts.
The spiritual story might be the circumstances about God answering prayer, or about some way that you have seen God work to remake your outlook on life or toward others. But it’s your story. You may not share how to know Christ, but you do show that He is at work and makes a meaningful difference in your life.
Your story is your testimony. Helping others write their personal testimony to share them in an outreach has long been an important skill in our ministry.
But often that three-minute testimony can come across somewhat canned in conversation. You don’t want to give a speech when you are talking to a friend. You are telling how you came to Christ in a natural, conversational way.
Spiritual stories and your story are both about your life. But your story is specifically about how you came to faith.
These five simple ways to engage others spiritually are not original with us. Two books Chris suggests would be.