bits from bob....

Spiritual Conversations Starters: Ideas for Sharing the "Good News"

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

At the conclusion of the sermon, I asked those who wanted to commit to go forth into the world with the message of Jesus to raise their hands. I also asked those who would prayerfully seek Jesus' power so they could touch the lives of others to raise their hands. At least 2/3 to 3/4 of those present raised their hands.

That same week, I visited with a member who shared her challenges in starting spiritual conversations. When I suggested I could develop a list of conversation starters, she was genuinely excited about the possibility. In my search, I found that my friend, James Nored, had written a blog entitled, "People sharing faith: Spiritual conversation openers." You can access his website at: www.missionaloutreachnetwork.com. I reflect some of his thoughts below.

Our challenge is this: in order to be able to share our faith, we have to be able to talk about our faith. Ironically, the best way to share our faith is to ask others about their faith and spiritual journey--and listen! Jesus was a master at this, as shown in his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. The following spiritual conversation starter questions are available at http://home.snu.edu/~HCULBERT/assess.htm. Find those that fit you and feel comfortable to you, try them out, and see what happens.

General issues
What gives the most meaning to your life?
What things or persons are your primary sources of strength in your day-to-day living?
When you have problems or crises, how do you manage to get through them?
Is God (or religion) important to you? In what ways?
If not, is there any particular reason why not?
Wouldn't you like to have faith in something?

Relationship questions
Does God (or a Higher Power) seem personal to you?
Do you feel close to or far away from God?
What do you imagine God is like?
Can you point to things that God has done for you?
How is God working in your life right now?
Are you comfortable with what you understand to be God's guidelines and laws for living?
Do you feel there are barriers of some type separating you from God?
Have you ever been mad or upset with God?
Have you ever done something for which you feel God could not forgive you?
Do you understand the way to forgiveness and what it means to be forgiven by God?
Do you think God has a plan for each person's life?
What would it take for you to live up to what God expects of you?

Devotional life and practice
What kinds of religious material do you like to read?
What are your favorite writings or authors?
Do you like religious music? Kinds? Favorites?
Have you read much of the Bible?
Do you understand the Bible when you read it?
Does Bible reading help in living? How?
Is prayer a meaningful part of your devotional life?
Do you feel there is any spiritual growth going on right now in your life?

The church
Are you involved in a church?
What do you get out of being involved in a church?
Which teachings of your church resonate the most with you?
Do you personally know anyone who is the pastor of a church?
Are you a member of an accountability or nurturing group in your church?

Religion and illness, dying and death
Has being ill made any difference in your thinking or feeling about God or your religious faith?
How has being ill affected your devotional life?
When you are ill, do you ever have feelings that God is punishing you or that it is His will for you to be sick?
How do you feel about suffering?
Do you trust God with your future?

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Last updated December 17, 2012