Video: The Art of Conversation

Where is a Christian’s time most effective in reaching others- public speaking or everyday conversations? Vince Vitale uses Jesus as an example for the power of personal conversation in sharing God’s truth.

He sets eight goals for Christians in building more meaningful conversations:

  1. Learn another language (ranging from baseball statistics to Spanish)
  2. Be goal setters
  3. Be question-ready (and aim for a chain of three or four connected questions)
  4. Be response-ready (prayer beforehand)
  5. Be testimony-ready (understanding someone else’s story and your own story and finding Christ at the intersection)
  6. Be consistent
  7. Be good stewards of conversations (be responsible)
  8. Be invitational with the Gospel. (Many have never been asked.)

Here are the questions from goal #3 and the testimony topics from goal #5. questions and themes.pdf (207.9 KB)

I’m curious if we could turn this thread into a way to hold one another accountable in reaching just one person in our lives this week. Would you be willing to jump in, and if so, what is the goal you’re going to be more intentional about this week?

Then, we can check back at the end of the week to see how it went and learn from one another in different corners of the globe. Anybody in?

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@Brittany_Bowman1 Sure! :slight_smile: I’ve been having spiritual conversations with a coworker for a while now and gave him Basic Christianity by John Stott. I need to be intentional to follow up and not just get busy. Please pray for God to open the right door and give me the right words at this point in his life.

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Thanks for jumping in, Sean. I’m excited to hear how things go.

For me, I’ve started a new job and need to be intentional in learning what my coworkers’ interests even are. I have two people who sit at desks next to me and plan to be intentional of walking over during lunch.

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May the Lord open doors for meaningful conversation :slight_smile:

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I love that initiative Brittany! I actually listened to Vince’s talk twice. I agree that we need to be intentional in our approach to people and not just let the conversation take its course. Will definitely do thay this week.

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I’ll go with you. Great topic. I have two associates in my office that I have had many opportunities to chalk up conversations. Last week all three of us talked. Some good perspectives and discussion that I can springboard from. A good discussion on their perception of Christianity “following rules” vs “accepting grace and gift” opened some conversation doors. Please pray for Pam and Jessica (converted agnostics from atheism). Now let the holy spirit help time the discussion and guide the words. My intentionality focus will be use the list @Brittany_Bowman1 attached to continue conversation in some way.

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Know when you are in a debate, and when you are not… Many people don’t understand their setting when they enter into a conversation. Also, understand who is your friend and who is not. God doesn’t expect that you will be friends with everyone; but that’s ok.

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That’s great insight, @benny1. Is there a specific relationship that comes to mind for you to try this approach on this week? How can we be praying and supporting you as you reach out into that relationship? I’m so glad you’re jumping in here!

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I sent these two questions to Pam and Jessica, as that was what I was led to from the list of questions from your attachment.

  1. What causes 80% of your stress?
  2. What was the best thing about July 4th for you?
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@Brittany_Bowman1 Thanks for creating the thread and the idea. This is off the topic of accountability, but somewhat relevant for some of the people I interact with. Looking for ideas on how to work around those “tough exteriors” of others - whether resistant or openly hostile, especially emotionally charged replies and retorts. What is are your “response ready” phrases? One of the challenges for me is to remain emotionally “neutral” and still be engaged and interested. Toward that objective, I’ve tried to build in a “pause” in the conversation so I can regain my balance. I’ve thought of these, but feel like there are better ones:
What do you mean by that? or Can you elaborate on that?
You seem to have strong feelings about that…what has created those feelings?
What has informed your opinion about that?

Would value your thoughts!

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That is great advice, @rwandrews. Thanks for sharing it here. I’ve learned a bit from it myself. In recent years, I haven’t encountered really hostile conversations against Christianity, so I’ve reflected I don’t have any excuse for why I haven’t been more intentional in sharing my faith more. I don’t have a lot of advice, therefore, outside of what you shared. I think you have a really comprehensive list already!

Your approach to ensuring the person you’re talking with feels heard can be one of the most important parts of faith conversations. It reminds me of this week’s Saving Truth podcast, where Ivy Tyson discusses how impactful one of the Core Module assignments can be on relationships. The students are assigned with simply interviewing someone to understand another worldview.

It sounds like you have had some neat conversations. What are some experiences where you have learned to use some of the questions you listed?

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I wouldn’t say they were “neat conversations” - actually messy, very messy. It is funny that you mention the Core Module assignment - my attempt at that assignment was a miserable failure on my part because I chose to engage someone with whom I did not have current interactions. It was not received well by the other person.

Lately, I am intentionally seeking to interact with people I meet in casual circumstances and find a way to plant a seed, brighten their day, or simply be one person that doesn’t yell at them that day. It has been amazing, and actually has led to some interesting conversations, albeit brief. My model has been to think of Christ’s conversation with the Samaritan woman - the turns of the conversation, the innuendo and gentle pursuit with which He moves her heart. Simply amazing.

I certainly don’t have this figured out, at all. And with the great divides we have in nearly every aspect of our lives (especially political) I am in constant search for a way to engage with others without necessarily agreeing with their perspective. One book that I’ve found of value in this aspect is Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss when he discusses hostage situations. I hope it does not seem overly dramatic, but my sense of the current environment is that so many people are being held hostage and is made even worse because they are actively supporting their own bondage. Framing the situation in that way helps me to make it less about me and more about Christ.

My most poignant memory of using “What do you mean by that?” was many years ago with my second oldest son when we were having “the talk”. Asking that question of him when he asked “how does it happen” helped me to know his real question. I still laugh about it today. And by the way, he was asking if the couple “decided to” or it “just happened”. I assured him, it is always a mutual decision. :slight_smile:
Sorry about that tangent, but was the first thing I thought of when you asked about experiences. Hope it brings a smile to everyone!

And would very much love to hear questions that others use!

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So, how did it go for everyone?

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@Brittany_Bowman1 Got to have a good conversation, but he still has not read the book, which is quite understandable since he has kiddos and stays quite busy. Keep praying for open doors :slight_smile:

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That’s great you were able to chat, @SeanO, and I’ll be praying indeed.

For me, I’m learning getting to know others in a new office is a marathon and not a sprint. However, reflecting on the last week made me realize I had a lot more opportunities to be deliberate than I used. So here’s to rallying for tomorrow!

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Hope it goes well :slight_smile:

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Without sounding too cliche, right now it’s the insurance guy :frowning_face: Even though it’s a temporary relationship, I feel it’s an important one, and has the power to make people feel great or awful, depending on the choices they make. I’ve reached out a number of times, and at this point I feel it’s clear that he is motivated by selfishness. I would love it if you could pray for him to make the right decisions - ones based upon the imperative to Love Thy Neighbor (I feel we are neighbors based upon the closeness of our membership in this company and our frequent and easy communication). I sure hope that he and his cohorts do not think of me as an adversary - or treat me like an adversary without realizing it.

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