Talking about God has slipped back into our national and media conversations. Watch American Idol and many of the contestants point to God or thank God when they do well. Many athletes do the same. They invoke the name of Jesus frequently.
Most of the time when you hear about God or Jesus today, it is about what He has done for me. How He has made my life more powerful or capable. It’s not a a bad way to talk about God, is it? But it is different than how I was trained to talk about God. My conversations were designed to confront one with Truth, the Gospel, or the Sabbath and the State of The Dead. They were confrontational in the sense that you wanted someone to change the way they were doing things in their lives by confronting them with something life changing.
The difference in most conversations about God today is more invitational. The athletes and performers often tell a story when they share what God has done for them. It is hard to disagree with their story. God gave me such a wonderful talent when I sing. Well that is hard to disagree with isn’t it? Or God helped us win the Superbowl. I’m not so sure about that one personally, but it’s not worth fighting over so I let it go.
What’s involved in these conversations is personal story. It is non confrontational and does not require an answer or a response to an appeal. By contrast, many conversations I have been involved in were about information and whether I could convince you to believe and act on that information, or information transfer. One way feels more like a relationship, the other about being in class.
Perhaps a combination of the two might be Incarnational. A seed that bears fruit in future conversations. Even in this kind of conversation, you still are responsible for continuing the dialogue. Instead of bumping along with cliche conversation with your neighbors or friends, you think about and look for opportunities to share the Gospel with them. You get creative. You pray.
One thing I’ve noticed from all this is that many of us today dislike anything that feels confrontational. That means we dislike telling someone about Jesus and how they should accept Him as their Savior. We are not comfortable with asking people to make a decision about religious beliefs. If those things are true, and I believe they are, what does that mean for our conversations? Will we stop talking about Jesus all together while the world picks up those conversations? Or will we find new ways to talk about our Great God?
We are still called to be witnesses and to evangelize. That has not changed. So what does that mean to us today? What is your understanding of Conversational Evangelism and how do you practice it? Let me suggest that it starts with Jesus and what He has done and is doing in our lives. It goes into what He is planning to do as well. And then it is offered to our friends and family and neighbors and coworkers as well. They too need to be able to get in on the greatest gift of all, a friendship with Jesus. It remains as true as always, we may be the only communication that someone will have about Jesus. We may be God’s only representative that will speak on His behalf. The only place we can find the Words for those kinds of conversations is at the foot of the Cross and in our prayer times. A conversation like this will be most natural when it is taken directly from our life with God every day. Our healthy relationship with God is the basis for good God talk. Let’s keep the talk going.