Why do our conversations with people who don’t know Jesus fail to progress?
In “Reasons Your Conversations Aren’t Going Anywhere,” on the CDM Podcast, Paul and Rebecca discuss the reasons why our interactions with nonbelievers seem to stall out. In this mini blog we’re going to talk about five of those reasons, so without any further ado, let’s jump in!
Maybe We Haven’t Made the Lost a Priority
Are we willing to say ‘no’ to really good things that keep us from being around the lost people in our lives? Your church may come up to you and ask you to take on the role and responsibilities of an elder, or maybe they’ll ask you to join them for a short term missions trip.
If our priority is making disciples, we need to stop and pray, asking God to show us whether these are good things that are going to keep us from spending regular, significant time with lost people. If so, we may need to see if they can be adjusted or simply not do them at all.
We can’t expect to have really deep conversations with someone if we only see them once a month or if we regularly see them in settings that aren’t conducive to having conversations. It’s essential that we spend quality time with the same people at least once every other week in settings that foster good conversations. Any longer than that and we’re having to play catch up.
Maybe We Aren’t Intentionally Building Relationships
Similar to the last point, many times when we get stuck, it’s because we aren’t being diligent about creating spaces where good conversations can happen.
Maybe it’s the venues we choose or the activities we’re doing. Seeing a movie with our lost friends can be fun, but unless we set aside significant time before or after to grab a meal and have a discussion, all we’ve really done is be in the same room as them.
I personally enjoy meeting my nonbelieving friends for board and video game nights, but I know that if I don’t intentionally make time for having dinner or hanging around to talk with them afterwards, we’ll have a lot of fun playing Halo, Catan, Werewolf or Scythe, but that’s really all that will happen.
If just having fun is the goal — and sometimes it is — then that’s great! But if I’m hoping to go deeper, then I need to build that time into our game nights or choose a better setting to do that.
Maybe We Don’t Know how to Have Deep Conversations
Conversing with others, like any other skill, needs to be sharpened and honed through practice. Sometimes, it’s not that we don’t want to have deep conversations, it’s just that we need a little help doing it better, which is totally reasonable.
There are a myriad of tools out there to help us build the muscle of conversation, but here are just a few from within, and without, our own library:
Stress-Free Small Talk, Richard S. Gallagher
Deep conversations may be things we just aren’t good at yet, and that’s okay. With a willingness to learn and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can make progress!
Maybe We’re Disconnecting Friendship from Discipleship
An important thing to remember for when you do start a Discovery Bible Study or Group is to make sure you do things for fun with the people you’re discipling outside of the study times.
If we aren‘t mindful of this principle, people may feel like victims of a bait n’ switch. They may think we only took the time to have fun with and show care for them so we could get them into our study, like we don’t really care about their well-being anymore. That’s how it can come across if we only ever spend time with them during our DBS meetings.
We want to really, truly care about the lost people in our lives, as well as their friends and families, then have the Discovery Bible Group flow naturally out of that. It‘s an extension of our friendship with them.
So don’t forget to go bowling with them, have them over for movie nights, pizza, games, or do whatever other fun hangout you can think of. We shouldn’t stop treating people as friends once they agree to read the Bible with us.
Maybe We’re not Stuck at all
Sometimes, we aren’t really stuck, we simply expect too much too fast.
We might panic and think that because we haven’t gotten to spiritual talk by the third conversation there is something wrong and we’re stuck. Sometimes we just have to be patient and accept that Disciple Making is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take months and years before we see any tangible fruit from our efforts.
Now, if you’ve spent years getting to know a nonbeliever and you still haven’t moved from casual to spiritual or discovery, then it’s worth taking an inventory of the relationship to see what’s kept things so stagnant.
However, if you’ve just started getting to know someone and it doesn’t feel like you’ve been progressing, don’t freak out. Odds are you’re where anyone could reasonably expect you to be. Don’t worry about forcing anything; just continue to listen and get to know them, asking God to guide you into deeper conversations and show you how to proceed.
Thanks so much for reading! If you’re eager to learn more about whether of not your conversations are stuck, and how to get unstuck, be sure to check out “Reasons Your Conversations Aren’t Going Anywhere” on the CDM Podcast. Paul and Rebecca address this important topic in greater detail and provide practical tips you won’t want to miss. And if you haven’t already, be sure to download the CDM App so you can have easy access to our entire free library of content and resources!