When is the Best Time to Talk About Faith?
Three ways to have more conversations about your faith
“He invited me to a Bible study, and I avoided him. I was trying to avoid him while I was at work. So I worked extra late, and he happened to be working extra late as well.”
While Fred Reed believed in God and attended church services, he wasn’t looking for a conversation about religion at that moment. He wasn’t alone in feeling this way.
According to a study done by Barna, the number who think they are responsible for sharing their faith, including those who profess to have faith in Jesus, has dropped considerably from 9 out of 10 in 1993 to 6 out of 10 in 2019.
But sometimes, an uncomfortable conversation about religion can turn into a life-changing one. It did for Fred.
“And I came out the door, and I was like, I guess I’m supposed to go because he just popped up from nowhere. So, yeah, so… I came, and I listened to the message at the Bible study, and strangely enough, the entire lesson looked like it was pointing fingers at me the entire time, so I was just like, wow.”
Life-changing effects of a faith conversation
“I had lots of questions, and of course, I like doing research. I researched a lot of the lessons that we got and found out they’re actually [teaching] what’s in the Bible, the Church that teaches what’s in the Bible. You don’t have to wonder or imagine.”
Fred is just one of the many stories of individuals who have had a faith conversation spark a life-changing process. (You can watch the rest of Fred’s story on Blueprint)
For Isaiah Malone, a passing conversation with a stranger led him to reconsider the path he was heading down.
“When I was working as a cashier at Walmart, a brother came through my line, and he was getting some groceries, and we talked about God for a little bit. I told him I was reading the book of Isaiah, and he became interested; he started to invite me. But little did I know it was something much bigger than I had expected. And in a sense, I got an insurance policy for my soul.”
Striking up a meaningful faith conversation
At some point, if your faith is something important to you, you are going to have a conversation with someone about it. Or at least be thinking of starting one.
And now, with social distancing and adjusting to the ‘new normal,’ striking a meaningful faith conversation may seem a little bit more complicated, but there are ways to get it done. So how do you get started?
For PJ Bradley, a former Protestant who was introduced to the Church Of Christ in 2018, it starts with thinking about the person on the other side of the conversation.
“I like to think about what I already know about their faith background (what religion they belong to, reasons as to why they may believe what they do) and also reflect on my faith background, as I’ll be sharing my faith, so it’s important to me that whoever I’m speaking to, I’m able to convey to the best of my abilities why I have the stand of faith that I do today.”
Tracy Nguyen takes a similar approach. Born and raised in the Church Of Christ, the challenges that 2020 has presented have reignited her determination to talk about her faith.
“Honestly… everything that has happened this year really shook me. I started to rewatch INC Media content to ease my thoughts, and it actually helped calm my anxieties. All this reminded me of our responsibility as Christians.”
Tracy recently created a specific Instagram account to focus solely on talking about her faith.
“What I do is I will watch videos or read articles, either on INC Media or Pasugo:God’s Message Magazine website, and usually when I do that, I think of somebody or somebody will come to mind, so when I share that content, I make sure to tag them on it. Just saying, you know, “Read this, watch this. Thinking of you, hope you’re okay,” you know, either complete silence or they’ll strike up a conversation, saying, ‘Hey, it’s been a while…’
And the general response is, you know, “How are you?” And so, then you can start that conversation of, you know, continuing to share your faith.”
Dealing with disappointment
Not every conversation about faith is welcomed. And while it can be discouraging, PJ always goes back to the reason he wanted to reach out in the first place.
“Well, for me, it can be a bit of a disheartening feeling, even a sad feeling at times when my invitation is refused, as what I want is for them to listen and believe as well, yet I also can’t force anyone to do so. I remain motivated because I truly believe that sharing my faith is the right thing to do.”
To date, PJ has invited friends and family to learn more about the Church Of Christ.
“The aim and hope are that one day they will listen to and accept the teachings of the Church and ultimately receive God’s blessings. So with that goal in mind, thinking ahead, any discomfort I may experience now will surely be worth it in the end.”
As for Tracy, the world’s current situation fuels her to keep going despite not always getting a positive response.
“In my opinion…these are very weird times where people are losing faith in people. But I believe that when people continue to see the good that God brings to our lives that it will reach them too. Just gotta continue to flood all streams with more good news than bad!”
Three ways to increase your opportunities to talk about your faith
Starting a faith conversation may not always be easy.
But if you consider the potential impact, it’s a conversation to look forward to instead of avoiding.
Here are three ways to increase your opportunities to have a faith conversation:
1. Be patient and understanding.
Your friend might be going through rough times and needs you to lend an ear. Be there for them, and if an opportunity presents itself, share a story of faith or a blog that relates to their current situation to let them know they’re not alone.
2. Be inquisitive and ask questions.
You may know that a person isn’t religious, so you assume that they think spiritual things are irrelevant. But you haven’t asked the person yet, so instead of making an assumption, ask them questions.
If you think asking them about their faith is too big of a leap, start by asking them what kind of hobbies they’re into, what their plans are for the weekend, or what other activities you both are interested in. And you never know, a conversation about physical well-being can quickly become a conversation about spiritual well-being.
3. Be intentional.
INC Media is full of real people’s stories overcoming difficult challenges, families celebrating milestones, individuals finding answers to struggles. Think about the person you’re sharing with, what they’re going through, and consider what piece of content would help them. There are podcasts, blog posts, and videos to relate to, be inspired by, and learn from.
Tracy puts it perfectly. “The hardest part about sharing your faith on social media is just doing it. There’s so much content out there. It’s so easy to pick something that you can relate to and be eager to share.”
Today is the perfect time to start a conversation about faith.
If you’re looking to start a conversation about faith, start one!
There are tons of tools available on incmedia.org for you to use as a jumping point. You can download cards, print out invitations, even watch a video to help you find the perfect blog, video, or podcast to share.
The most important thing is to start.