How do we engage in effective conversations about our faith with the next generation of believers?
“We have to, as Christians, be sincere in these kinds of conversations. It can’t just be asking the question so that we appear to be polite, so that when we start to tell them the truth they’re ready to listen. It has to be a genuine conversation, a walking alongside of them.”
Summit Ministries President, Dr. Jeff Myers shares 4 key principles to engaging in conversations with people who may have opposing worldviews.
1. Be humble and transparent.
We need to approach conversations with humility. Dr. Myers refers to 1 Corinthians 13:12.
“We don’t know everything. Now that doesn’t mean we can’t know anything. It just means we can know what is true, but we can’t know everything so we see dimly, as in a mirror. We can be honest about our own struggles, and at the same time, we don’t have to be wishy-washy.”
Instead of presenting a front of knowing everything, we should point people towards the Word of God.
“We can say, ‘I’m a fallen creature so I know my ability to reason is far from perfect, but here’s what I understand to be true; it’s not true because I see it, it’s true because scripture says it.’”
2. Trust that God is in charge.
“God is sovereign, He knows everything that there is to know.”
He shares a personal example from a recent conversation,
“I was just taking my dog for a walk this morning and met a lady that I’d never met before. She started telling me some of her story, I said, ‘Can I pray for you?’ and just took her hand prayed right there on the sidewalk.
“People are really searching and they’re hungry. Say, ‘Look, I don’t know the answer but I know God’s in charge, can I just pray with you about this?’
3. Don’t indoctrinate people.
“I’m guessing you have genuine questions and doubts, everybody does. So how can we talk about those together without making each other angry?”
4. Listen, and then listen some more.
“’What’s important to you? Tell me more about that.‘ This sort of thing sound like common sense, but it’s amazing how often I found myself failing to do it unless I’m really thinking about it.”
Listening takes intentional effort and it is more important than ever. Dr. Myers reminds us of the importance of listening to the needs of today’s emerging generation, while preparing ourselves to humbly present the truth of God’s Word.
“The older generation, my generation, we ask, ‘Can you prove it to me?’ This younger generation, what they’re asking is, ‘Can you hear me?’”