Conversations, Not Presentations

by Alvin Reid

The aroma of fresh ground coffee can’t be missed: dark roast, espresso beans, and fresh lattes, all robust and alluring, filling the air. The sound of smooth music lingers in the background. Throw in a corner table, add in a friend, and curl your fingers around your favorite cup of Joe, and what do you get?

I call that a great place for conversation.

“But I’m not a coffee drinker,” you protest. Here’s another venue I like: Cracker Barrel, sitting across from my wife, Michelle, ordering breakfast for supper, and talking about life. Sound inviting?

Maybe you picture fishing on a boat bass with a friend or in a deer stand with a hunting buddy. Perhaps you’d stop for a bite at Panera after shopping at the mall.

We could come up with endless examples of places we enjoy talking to others. Whether we are extroverts (raising my hand) or introverts (like a lot of really normal people), we all love conversations with friends.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen a transition from giving a gospel presentation to having gospel conversations. I’ve also seen a transition in my own life and witness from focusing on a night a week of visitation to a deliberate emphasis on meeting people at Third Places (like a coffee shop). In fact, four of the last five people I’ve been blessed to lead to Christ personally I led to Christ in coffee shops.

I fear people like me who want to help people like you learn to share Christ with normal people like us sometimes set you up for failure before you start. We stress you out over getting the information right, or we only give examples of someone being gloriously converted when we shared with them to the neglect of talking about conversations where people don’t trust Christ, or we overburden you with details to the point that you are pretty wigged out before you start.

What if you could just talk about Jesus to others simply because you love Him and you love them and you want to introduce them to Him?

The average adult has about 27 conversations a day. What if we spent less time giving people scripted evangelistic presentations and instead simply learned to introduce Jesus into normal conversations we already have?

What if I told you that the gospel you received and the life God gave you are all you need to start having real, effective conversations with people about Jesus?

When you read the Gospels, you see Jesus having conversations with many different people. What if talking about Jesus were not awkward, but became as normal as talking about other things we enjoy?

That’s why I wrote the Sharing Jesus book. I hope you will find it helpful in sharing Christ in everyday conversations.


Alvin L. Reid (@alvinreid) is senior professor of evangelism and student ministry and Bailey Smith chair of evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is author of As You Go: Creating a Missional Culture of Gospel-Centered Students. He loves encouraging the younger generation to live for Jesus. Learn more: