4 Easy Ways to Initiate Spiritual Conversations in Everyday Life
Summer is nearing its end. It has been personally and professionally a summer to remember. My son Darby was married in July, and oldest son James got engaged last week! We are excited to add one daughter and one future daughter to the Ramos tribe! I just finished the rough draft of the Full Capacity Man to be released in June of 2022.
Due to popular demand, in January Guts and Manhood: Four Irrefutable Attributes of Courage will be available through most book distributers. Some of you may have read the free download we offered in 2020 when COVID shut things down.
I spent the early part of summer in a Hawaiian tree stand hunting axis deer with a bow. There I read Doug Pollock’s excellent book, God Space about having spiritual conversations. It was one of the best books I’ve read about sharing my faith in a non-threatening and effective way. I want to share four takeaways I’ve personally implemented since then.
Here they are.
- Listen: Ask Me About My Favorite Subject. Before I fell in love with Shanna she was one of my volunteers with Youth for Christ and Campus Life. I knew she was special before we even started dating when she passionately shared something I’ll never forget, “You’re either a missionary or mission field.”
Not only is she right but she lives by this code.
Thirty years later, she embodies a missionary mindset in her career as a flight attendant. Flight attendants rarely work the same shift with the same crew. She’s never flown with the same crew twice, which means she is compelled to know new crew members each time she flies. She can’t openly share her faith, but almost never returns without knowing each of her fellow flight attendant’s life and faith stories, as well as prayer needs.
How does she do it? She simply asks them about the thing they love the most. Themselves! She asks about their lives, and they gladly share.
Joyfully. Passionately I might add. She’s learned the art of loving people and sharing Jesus. People are selfish. We love talking about ourselves! It is her commitment to be a missionary not a mission field. Todd Hunter, former CEO of Alpha USA said, “I’m willing to bet the farm that in our postmodern Christian society the most important evangelistic skill is listening.”
Put down your evangelistic training and agendas long enough to listen.
- Notice: Possess the Eyes of a Hunter. Jesus saw what others often neglected. Why?
Because he was aware of his surroundings. He used his peripheral vision to share his love with others. Years of hunting has trained my eyes to notice everything about my surroundings.
Notice your surroundings. Get out of your own microcosm long enough to notice the brokenness of those around you. What do the slogans on their shirts say about them? What is their face saying? What coffee drink do they order? Do they look you in the eyes or turn away? What bumper stickers are on their cars? What symbol is on their hat?
Noticing the world around you is the critical step leading to what happens next.
- Wonder: Peel Back the Onion
Noticing leads to wondering. Wondering means asking the questions about what you have observed. Pollock writes, “When I discovered the effectiveness of asking questions, my rocket lifted off the launchpad. As I learned to ask reflective questions, the quality and quantity of my spiritual conversations skyrocketed. I call these ‘wondering questions’ because they tap into a reservoir of curiosity that lies deep within each of us.”
Questions help to peel back the layers and expose the things that stand between them and God. Questions are usually more important than answers in our conversations. In other words, instead of sharing your faith or cowering from doing so, simply say something like this, “I noticed the bumper sticker on your car said ‘blank’ and I wonder if you could explain what it means to you?”
People are walking billboards if we just take the time to notice and ask wondering questions.
- Pray: Serve the Server. This has been so incredibly fun and inspiring that I wish every man would start doing what Pollock describes here: “The next time you go to a restaurant, find out your server’s name. When he or she brings your food, thank the person, and explain that it’s your custom to thank God for every meal. Look the person in the eye, use his or her name, and ask if there is currently anything going on in the person’s life that you could pray for when you thank God for your food. Listen, observe body language, and proceed as the Spirit leads.”
My responses have varied from people joyously sharing their faith story with me to one waitress who ran away as she shouted prayer requests over her shoulder (no joke). I was tired of being nice, a good tipper, yet anonymous to those who God creates space for in my life. I want to live boldly for Jesus. I want the world to feel the full weight of Christ in me, and letting them deal with it.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. I’ve recommitted myself to pushing back the darkness everywhere I go. And tip 20% of course!
Listen. Notice. Wonder. Pray.
What will you do with this new knowledge? Will you join me? I’ve implemented these four things in my personal life and God has opened doors to love and minister to people from all walks of life.
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