Your friends probably want to discuss Jesus

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

In an article for Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer quotes two statistics for American Christians:

When asked the question: “If someone you know invited you to attend church with them at Christmas, how likely would you be to attend?” Over half (57%) of respondents said they’d be likely to come. [Lifeway Research]

As it turns out, nearly 80% say that if a friend values his or her faith in Jesus, they are willing to talk to the friend about it even if they themselves are not believers. [Lifeway Research with Billy Graham Center]

Wherever you live, we can take heart from how the Bible validates the principle behind these ideas. I think of Philippians 2:14-16,

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

The quality of our lives is meant to be distinctive - and when it is, we shine as lights, holding fast to the word of life - the gospel!

I believe this echoes the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14-16):

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  1. How can you humbly but clearly demonstrate a distinctive lifestyle to your neighbors today?
  2. When would be a good time to invite a friend to church? Who will you invite?
  3. What question could you ask to start a conversation about faith? Who will you talk with?

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #2

Your third question has been a focal point for me in trying to start conversations on faith. The people at Stand to Reason think the best question would be “Where do you think you will go when you die?” I really don’t think that would be the best way to start a conversation on God, though, because it seems too forced.
Imagine having lunch with a friend who is a skeptic and as soon as you finish discussing last night’s football game, you lean over and ask “Where do you think you will go when you die?” He just looks at you bewildered at the sudden conversational change (especially if the topic is sensitive).
I think the best way to get the conversation rolling is to listen and be attentive and let the other person bring it up, especially if they know your stance on things dealing with faith. If they talk about some kind of moral issue, or something along that line, you could counter and ask “Why do you think that (behaviour, action, etc) to be wrong?”
Another way would be to ask why they are skeptics, or why they are of a different faith than you and continue on from there. A Jim Warner Wallace says, we as Christians don’t need to be all defensive when responding to critiques about our faith because we have confidence that Christianity is true, and that the evidence backs us up. He compares the stage of worldviews like a dog park, where you have all kinds of worldviews being represented be the many different kinds of dogs. He calls Christians the Dobermans of the dog park because we have the objective truth in Jesus Christ on our side while atheists are the chihuahuas. The chihuahuas are loud and obnoxious because they know that since they are the smallest dog in the park, they have to bite and claw their way to being noticed. Since Christians are the Dobermans, we don’t have to be loud like the chihuahuas because we are the biggest dogs in the park. We can answer with confidence because we hold the truth.

Anyone else have a good question that could start a good conversation about faith?