Here is tip #4 in our series to help you be more intentional on sharing your faith in 2019.
Tip #4: Ask questions
Can you think of a time when you were having a conversation with someone, maybe with a coworker or a friend, and you knew there was an opportunity to move toward a faith conversation, but you weren’t sure how to proceed? We’ve all been there! Here is a great tip for moving everyday conversations to potential faith conversations in a non-confrontational, effective way. Ask a question!
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Asking a question is helpful in moving a conversation forward for several reasons.
1. It moves the conversation deeper in a natural way. Asking a question with a caring, interested attitude does not put most people on the defensive and can be part of our everyday conversations. People usually don’t mind giving opinion about something or talking about themselves or their family.
Example: “You said you used to be religious but no longer are. Did something happen that led to that decision?” Then listen carefully and follow up with one or more questions as appropriate.
2. It helps you learn more about the person. Asking a question can help people to open up about their personal situations, backgrounds, past hurts, and opinions. It will aid in future conversations helping you to understand barriers to faith or particular issues with which they are struggling.
Example: “You said you aren’t a religious person but when your dad was in the hospital he had a special experience. Did that effect your view of religion?”
3. It shows you are interested and listening. Asking a question shows that you are listening to what the person is saying, and that you care enough to ask about what they said rather than thinking ahead and jumping into your response.
Example: “You said you weren’t a praying person but could sure use some prayers now. Is everything okay?” You may have an opportunity to ask, “Can I pray for you?”
4. It takes the pressure off you. Asking a question takes the pressure off you to feel like you have to know exactly what to say at just the right moment. You do not have to be an expert on a given topic or be afraid they might ask something you won’t be able to answer. You can go as far in the conversation as you are comfortable. By using a question to explore their beliefs, for example, you can prepare for future interactions with them.
Example: “I’m not very familiar with Buddhism. Could you tell me about the aspects of your faith that are the most important to you?” Follow up to learn what they believe about their religion and ask more questions as you are comfortable.
The opportunities to have faith conversations are all around us. Asking a few questions may be the tip you need to get started in 2019!
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To a fruitful 2019,
Greg West and Engage 360 Team