A Conversation

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One day, I stopped to get gas close to my home. The ‘pay at the pump’ wasn’t working, so I went inside. As the cashier took my payment, she asked if I was having a good day. I almost replied automatically, “Yes! How about you?” Instead, I decided to be real…to be vulnerable. My father-in-law had just passed away; it was a hard day. Sharing that vulnerable part of me took our expected shallow conversation to a deeper level. In those few moments, I learned she had lost three family members to cancer that year, and another was recently diagnosed. She was hurting. I could’ve easily had a shallow conversation with her and moved on with my day but being intentional allowed her to open up.

Shallow conversations aren’t bad. In fact, they are necessary for starting relationships and serve as a springboard to spiritual conversations, but spiritual conversations happen when intentionality is present.

In Matthew 28:19-20 we see that a Christ-follower’s purpose is to go, make disciples of Christ, baptize them, and teach them to obey. The Great Commission should drive us to live with intentionality and open our eyes to the possibilities of spiritual conversations surrounding us. How can intentionality lead to spiritual conversations? Intentionality can lead to spiritual conversations by living your life with a broad scope and having a plan for spiritual conversations.

Live Your Life With A Broad Scope

A scope is an area, opportunity, or possibility that surrounds you. Who in your life is within your scope? Think about your physical neighbors, the barista at the coffee shop you frequent, coworkers, or even your sibling. God has strategically placed you around others to influence. Sometimes we fail to see some people within our scope. A scope can be limited by our vantage point or when blinders are present and block our vision. Is there anything that limits your scope?

To broaden your scope, you can create habits of truly seeing the person in front of you, paying attention to details, and seeking to understand and care. This is living with intentionality.

Have A Plan For Spiritual Conversations

Intentionality with forethought gives hope, anticipation, and a plan for when the conversation leads to the Gospel. When building a relationship, most conversations may not start with spiritual things, but the conversations will naturally shift because of your love for the Lord and genuine care for the person.

As you anticipate spiritual conversations, here are five techniques you can use to transition into these conversations.

1. Use open questions. Open questions communicate interest, allow time for the person to share, and relay more information for follow-up communication.

2. Be understanding. It can be challenging to have meaningful conversations with others who don’t think or behave like you. Most likely, some people you talk to will live by different standards. To understand, you must be genuine in your interest, listen carefully, and share from the heart, which will be recognized and appreciated.

3. Be patient. Allow time for the person to process and respond. We are often tempted to fill the silence, which may prevent them from answering wholeheartedly. Silence is your friend, even if it seems awkward.

4. Follow-up. Once the person shares, reiterate their response and ask a follow-up question that presses them further.

5. Be bold. Be intentional about shifting the conversation to Christ. Some conversations may naturally go in that direction, but others may need purposeful movement. Sometimes we shy away from this because we fear it will hurt our relationships.

These techniques will help you be more intentional in transitioning to the Gospel and will open a door for you to share how God changed your life and how He can also change their life.

When Sharing, Include Scripture

Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” God is the One who changes and transforms hearts. Share His words.

Every time we have a conversation, there is an opportunity for a life change.

Don’t Focus On The Sin; Focus On The Savior.

The sin in our lives is nothing to be proud of, but the One who saved us from that sin is. What He has done, in and through us, despite that sin, should be our focus. The brokenness within a person can be monumental in leading to life change if the person knows the truth of the Gospel. Share that truth.

Conversation with intentionality makes all the difference in transitioning to the Gospel. Every time we have a conversation, there is an opportunity for a life change. God designed us to be in a relationship with Himself and others – therefore, life change happens continuously. Ask God to broaden your scope to see those you influence, develop a plan, and practice these principles in your conversations for His glory.

Here is one resource to help you prepare to have a Gospel conversation!

  • Discipleship
Melanie Ratcliffe

Melanie Ratcliffe is the Director of Relational Evangelism at the South Carolina Baptist Convention. She is married to Jody, a church planter, and the mother of 3 amazing adult children. She formerly served with the International Mission Board in Russia and is working toward her Ph.D. in Leadership.

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