Spiritual conversations don't need to be weird

Who would have thought that you could have a spiritual conversation before or after watching a movie? But it happens to me all of the time. Since I’m one of the only film critics who identifies as Christian, this leaves me in a unique position to talk about my faith. Interestingly enough, I don’t even have to work that hard at getting to these conversations, since most films provide a wealth of opportunities to discuss something deeper in life.

After watching Oppenheimer, my friend and I discussed the implications of our decisions and how we choose our path in life. This line of dialogue led to a fantastic hour-long discussion that delved into religion, faith and the Bible. Along with the spiritual connection, there was trust built between my friend and me that made us both look forward to the next film and the back-and-forth of faith.

On another occasion I was sitting on a plane, and the woman who sat next to me was keen for a conversation. She wasn’t interested in my homeland or my religion, but this 70-year-old was keen to discuss movies. We talked about her favourites and why she loved them. Then from that exchange we built a dialogue that ran for the rest of the trip that included her past, sexual orientation, religious affiliations and thoughts on the Bible. At the end of the trip, she even took my book with enthusiasm as she headed off to her area of the world.

Both of these conversations didn’t lead to someone’s conversion or even include all of the steps of the latest evangelistic program. Still, they are examples of spiritual conversations. Jesus, the Bible and God all got a hearing while providing vibrant discussions that went beyond mere small talk.

Getting the conversation started

To say the word evangelism can cause an angst in people that will cause them to recoil in shame or fear. The reason can be placed on all of the good intentions of churches and programs that say that to ‘do evangelism,’ you have to do it ‘this way.’

Yet having a spiritual conversation doesn’t have to be that hard. Training on sharing your faith is good, but to get started having spiritual conversations can be as easy as talking to a friend, family member or work colleague. If Jesus is at the centre of your life, he will most likely make his way into the discussion in time. Instead of making it so hard, there might be an easier way: start talking to people.

These spiritual conversations can come through natural chats where we listen to what someone else believes about God (or gods or no God), or where we’ve shared something about what we think about God. If you follow Jesus, spiritual conversations will naturally lead you to talk about his difference in your life. To take some of the pressure off, it is okay if you don’t get to introduce everything you know and believe, or if you don’t explain the full gospel; simply asking questions and listening to someone’s answers are also spiritual conversations that may come easier than you realise.

Spiritual conversations explore our worldviews, diving deeper than interests and values as we try to understand one another’s beliefs – sharing the difference those beliefs make to our live; merely starting the discourse to have further conversations and trusting God with the results.

Dive deeper in conversations

Keen to have more spiritual conversations?

Admittedly, only some people need to use movies to introduce spiritual conversation into their daily life. Yet have you ever thought of how you could do the same thing with the interests and social groups you meet every day?

If you have a friend you would love to introduce to Jesus, a good goal is to have spiritual conversations with them. Having a spiritual discussion means that you have landed in that worldview area. It doesn’t mean that you will have those conversations every time you see your friend, or that you must rush through interests and values to get there. But keep it as a goal, pray for it and ask that God will help your friend feel your concern for them.

The beauty of spiritual conversations is that it lowers the bar for evangelism in everyday life. A spiritual conversation is a way that you can show your friend you care. It’s a way of bringing the sacred into daily life, and it’s on the road towards sharing the good news of Jesus.

This September from 1-22nd, City Bible Forum is running a challenge called Dive Deeper. The goal is to encourage Christians to have three spiritual conversations with people in their lives who aren’t believers. We’ve provided some free resources, a quiz and a conversation tracker. We’ll see how many conversations we can have together across Australia.

If you want to go deeper, you can “take the plunge” by registering to a deeper commitment. You can set a personal goal, access a private facebook group and more. We hope you’ll join us in praying for, having and sharing spiritual conversations with us this year.

Russ Matthews works for City Bible Forum as the Product Manager for Reel Dialogue and God in 60 Seconds. He enjoys developing large public forums throughout the city to engage workers with the bigger questions of life. Russ writes film reviews and articles for various publications. He has a passion for film and getting the conversations started on themes from these visual creations. Discussions that can include topics like movies, Jesus, the Bible and God.

Russ is the author of The Word Becomes Film: A Modern Day Parable That Introduces a Radically Easy Way of Talking About God’s Story

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