In my personal evangelism training, I focus on evangelistic conversation based on
- Noticing the prompting of the Holy Spirit
- Listening for Spiritual Thirst
- Using great questions to help a person discover their thirst and need for Christ.
So I’m always on the lookout for great conversational tools and training to help Christians grow more comfortable with sharing their faith.
I’ve personally shifted from seeing evangelism as only a one way proclamation event to a multifaceted process of a series of events that add up to a person’s decision to surrender to Christ.
Many conversations are a key element in a person’s journey to Christ.
New ideas change us slowly, like water on a rock, imperceptibly reshaping grooves and contours. We rarely change our minds in the heat of discussion and usually need several opportunities to hear new ideas before we adapt a new position. (p. 48)
Have more fruitful spiritual conversations
In Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk, authors Dale and Jonalyn Fincher intend to help Christians gain the right to be heard through genuine care and concern for those God places in our lives as we go about our daily activities.
How does a Christian have normal conversations about Jesus without accidentally sounding offensive, bigoted or intolerant?
Part 1: Making Spiritual Small Talk
The first section of Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk focuses mostly on principles of spiritual conversation.
Principal #7 was a great one: Allow people to remain unconvinced.
Learn to ask more questions and not be afraid to learn from the person you are talking to since questions open up the possibility of meaningful conversation and honest engagement.
The authors also point out conversation stoppers that have killed their own conversations (chapter 3).
- When feeling cornered by someone’s question, offer a spiritual cliché, for example, “Just take it by faith.”
- Don’t fallback on that’s-the-way-I-was-raised answers.
- When feeling fearful or threatened, lash out hatefully.
- Show your disgust for the other person or his views or situation in life.
- Sniff out their sin, and then club them with shame and blame.
Part 2: Restocking Your Tools
The second section includes chapters on discussing our faith in particular in contrast with spiritual themes in our culture.
This will date Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk as they tackle four popular books from the last few years, like The Secret.
But the principles they lift out will remain valid for having conversations. They provide more examples of ways to engage others in dialogue about faith.
Part 3: Helping Friends Home
This final part of Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk deals with common questions and topics that might arise in spiritual conversations. For example, the problem of pain and suffering is one that different religions handle with vastly different ideas on the solution. They raise the question of evolution and other red herrings that distract people from focus on Jesus.
Some of these are attributed to a particular “brand of Christianity” rather than basic foundation truths about following Jesus. Some theological streams will take issue over what issues the authors molehills and mountains.
My take on Coffee Shop Conversations
Overall, the book was a decent read.
At times I felt like Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk drifted, allowing quick skimming of certain sections.
As a strength, it focuses on conversational principles and points the reader on skills to grow your spiritual conversations.
This is not a book on how to memorize and present a gospel formula – its goal is not to teach you a script or presentation.
Rather, their stated goal is to help you have more conversations that can open the doors to that gospel sharing down the road.
For those that believe in proclamation via monologue presentation before relationship – Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk won’t work.
For those that want to grow in their conversation skills, Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk gives several suggested ways to grow more comfortable in your conversations.
Order your copy of Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk from Amazon (affiliate link).
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