The gospel message is both incredibly exclusive and inclusive, all at the same time.
Jesus was clear when He said that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That “whoever” includes people from any nation, tribe, political party, or background. In that sense, Christianity is very inclusive.
But Jesus was also clear when He said that He is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He’s the way, not just a way. He is the truth, not just any truth.
Even though people might believe all different kinds of things, Jesus is the exclusive truth. In that sense, Christianity is very exclusive.
What does that mean for us? Well, it means we should talk about our faith with anyone we can. But, at some point in talking about our faith, we are going to have to share the exclusive truth of Jesus.
This can sometimes cause people to get tense or defensive. If this happens, we shouldn’t get ready for battle. Our goal isn’t to fight!
Our goal is to have a conversation in which the other person knows they are loved by God and loved by us. We want to talk about our faith in love and care for the other person.
So, how do we do that? How do we engage in conversations, not confrontations, when it comes to faith?
Here are three suggestions:
Start Conversations About Faith With Hospitality
Practicing hospitality is one of the simplest and most tangible ways we model the truth of the Gospel. The word “hospitality” comes from the combination of two words: “love” and “stranger.”
Literally, then, hospitality is the love of strangers.
This is a powerful description of what the Gospel is. When we were strangers, God took us in. When we were without a home and family, God brought us into His. When we were without hope in the world, God adopted us as His children. In the ultimate act of hospitality, God provided a way to welcome us through the death of Jesus Christ.
God is ultimately hospitable, so hospitality is a characteristic built into the spiritual DNA of those who have experienced this divine hospitality.
Start conversations and build relationships on hospitality. Invite them in. Show you care. Conversations can flourish in that environment.
Related Post: 5 Simple Ways to Share God's Love With Others
Start Conversations About Faith by Being Curious
When we try to talk about our faith, sometimes we treat the person we are talking to as a project. We don’t know anything about them, we haven’t asked them any questions, we haven’t demonstrated any real interest in them. All we are trying to do is say what we want to say.
Now, sharing the gospel is important. In fact, it’s the most important thing. But, if we want to have conversations and not confrontations about our faith, then we should also show a sense of curiosity about the person we are talking to.
Ask questions. Be interested. Remember what they say. Really hear them, view things from their perspective, and ask more questions.
When we seek to know people and not just communicate our message, we have already laid the groundwork for real conversation to happen.
Related Post: 7 Questions to Help You Share Your Faith
Start Faith Conversations by Finding Common Ground
There are a lot of barriers that divide people in our world. We are separated by income level, backgrounds, and political ideas. But even with these, there is still a lot we have in common with each other.
There is more that unites us than separates us. We are all more alike than different.
It could be something as common as sports, fishing, or cooking. Maybe you have similar goals or dreams for your life and family. Chances are, you can find something you have in common with everyone you talk to, if you are willing to look for it. But, it takes time, effort, and curiosity.
Instead of immediately focusing on the differences between you and someone else, spend some time trying to discover what common ground you have. That common ground might be the launching point for a conversation about faith.
If we take these simple things into account, then we can build the kinds of relationships that help us have real conversations about Jesus and what he can do in their lives.
The world has enough arguments. Let’s start some conversations.
Related Post: How to Explain the Gospel Using Just One Verse