Making disciples 4: beyond small talk
A number of us shared our difficulty in moving conversations from small talk to ‘big talk’. We feel uncomfortable trying to bring Jesus, God, church, being Christian up in conversation with others. There seems to be a common awkwardness in raising spiritual matters with our family, friends, and workmates.
Some feel threatened about raising Christian topics, when so many people around us are so hostile to religion. We don’t feel relaxed to raise the gospel. We worry about what people will think of us. We feel gagged and don’t speak up for fear of being judged or fear of being seen to judge others.
The gospel isn’t a normal or natural topic of conversation and so it takes skill to raise it at the right time without appearing clunky and awkward. Some feel we need to earn the right to raise the topic of God and that takes time building relationships that maybe we don’t have.
Perhaps we feel that trying to raise God in conversation is a guaranteed way to get both feet in our mouths. We stand back waiting for the perfect opportunity, but it never seems to come. We’re worried about offending people or being seen as a bigot. Maybe we’ve tried and had too many bad experiences that have put us off trying again.
So how can we encourage one another to just start talking? How can we improve our timing and relevance? How can we regain our confidence in the gospel? How can we stop ourselves prejudging people’s reactions? How can we become more relaxed and natural in talking about our beliefs?
I believe there are a number of practical things we can be doing to address many of these issues. We will look at some ideas in a subsequent post.