The pathway to purpose and a deep dialog about faith is neither simple nor linear.
When we look at our life and our relationship with Jesus, we realize that it has been a journey. A journey of understanding, belief, experience and trust.
As we join others on their journeys, we know that, like most other relationships, building respect and trust in order to share the gospel takes more than a cup of coffee.
These days, it’s more common for someone to follow Christ after many conversations and forming a relationship with a Christian than upon hearing a one-time presentation of the gospel.
In light of this trend, how can we help people to move nearer to God?
Doug Pollock, in his book “God Space: Where Spiritual Conversations Happen Naturally,” suggests that we can share the love of Christ by creating “God space” — space where spiritual matters can be discussed freely.
“We need ‘Jesus glasses,’ the kind that allows us to see the world around us the way Jesus does. When we start to notice others with our Jesus glasses on ... His compassion melts away the coldness in our hearts. Our callousness toward others is replaced with genuine concern,” writes Pollock.
As we try to reach people with the gospel, it is important to know them. Ask questions about things that are meaningful to them, their backgrounds in spirituality and the church. Then, summarize their responses using a phrase such as, “So what I hear you saying … ” in order to better listen. Here are 99 “wondering questions” to get you started.
“Notice, pray, repeat.” While noticing others and getting to know their journey with God, be in constant prayer for them.
“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, English Standard Version).
Be able to recall specific moments when God has lead you into truth and shown you His grace, and be steadfast in your own personal Bible study. These two things are great preparation for having gospel conversations, not just gospel presentations.
Celebrate different steps along the way in someone’s spiritual journey rather than simply a decision to receive Christ.
Take the initiative to love people and engage them in conversations.
“Relax, be yourself and let the Holy Spirit have His way in your relational connections,” Pollock writes. “If you’re willing to persevere in this holy endeavor, your words and actions will eventually flow out of the changes God has brought in you.”
The principles in this article were adapted from “God Space: Where Spiritual Conversations Happen Naturally” by Doug Pollock.
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