by Nancy Grisham
“I’m doing Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-day mediation process.”
My friend went on to tell me about Deepak’s meditation guide that includes certain phrases to repeat. He says it will bring joy into her life.
These days, who doesn’t need a big dose of joy? We live in a triple-digit-stressed-out world. The month is longer than the paycheck. People honk if you’re a nano-second late coming off a stoplight. Lines are long. Watching the news is nauseating. Drinking, drugs, and other things are often the go-to escape for a little bit of relief.
Maybe Oprah and Deepak’s meditation could bring some joy into my friend’s gnawing anxieties. However, because I believe there is a better way I wanted to move our conversation toward the One true Joy Bringer.
A while back, I’d given my friend a copy of the book I wrote about thriving in life through Christ. I asked if she had a chance to read it. She hadn’t.
I laughed and said, “Read my book. If you like Deepak, you’re really going to like Jesus.”
She got a big laugh out of that.
“I’m not kidding you! You’re going to say, ‘Jesus, You da Man!’”
She got tickled and said she would read my book. The conversation then turned to other things.
As I thought about talking with my friend, I was reminded of several things that help me move a conversation toward Christ. I’d like to share them with you in the hope that you will find them helpful as well.
1. Be Conversational
Be willing to sit a spell and talk with people. Be honestly interested in their interests, feelings, thoughts, and lives. Listen for their needs. When there is a chance to turn the conversation toward Christ, lean into it. They’ll let you know whether or not they are interested. Either way leave the door cracked for an ongoing conversation—for the long run.
2. Be a Bridge Builder
Your conversations can build word walls or word bridges to Christ. Give people easy onramps to talk about spiritual matters. Avoid using words that may create barriers (think churchy words). Instead, explain biblical truths using everyday words that anyone would understand. Use your words to build bridges.
3. Be Real
If your conversational style or voice changes when you start to talk about spiritual matters, you might be less-than-authentic. You are not The Evangelist, The Spiritual Police, or Church Lady. You are YOU. That is plenty good enough.
4. Be Relaxed
It’s normal to feel some fear in spiritual conversations—just don’t camp there. It’s okay to not know all the answers—you never will. If someone has a question, let the person know you’ll get an answer and get back with him or her. It’s another opportunity to talk. Remember, if you know Jesus, you know enough. Relax, trust God, and enjoy the conversation with your friend.
5. Be Ready
When I’m in tune with God, then it seems that more opportunities arise to have spiritual conversations. Maybe you’ve noticed that in your life as well. We want to always be ready. We can rely on His Spirit to lead us in talking to people about the real Joy Bringer. He is already at work in their lives. When they hear His story, we want their hearts to resonate, “Jesus, You da Man!”
Nancy Grisham (@nancygrisham) is a speaker and founder of Livin’ Ignited. She is author of Thriving: Trusting God for Life to the Fullest, has frequently taught at Willow Creek Community Church mid-week classes and served as the evangelism pastor in a church of 6,500 people led by Stuart Briscoe.