Conversations Should Be an Adventure, Not a Straitjacket

By August 5, 2014 faith One Comment

When I first started teaching university-level marketing courses, I had no idea what I was doing. I was 26 years old, just a few years older than most of my students. I was green and raw and scared. The only way I could see surviving that first semester was to have my entire class scripted out. Word for word, I wrote and rewrote my script and then talked it out loud before taking it live in front of the students. Class presentations were likely as painful for me to give as they were for my students to take in.

Although we all survived—my anxiety was not my end, nor was boredom the end for my students—I look back on that canned approach and wince a bit. With each successive semester of teaching, my style grew far from its scripted roots. By the end of my tenure, my style was much more conversational, and much more enjoyable to give (and likely also to take!).

I see this same progression in my approach to telling others about the life-changing grace found in Jesus. Early after God had turned my life upside down, I willingly told others about it, but I was green and raw and scared. So I leaned heavily on lines and phrases that I gathered up in my journal. I’m guessing these presentations were as painful for me to give as they were for the recipients to take in.

In time, my style has become much more fluid and conversational, much more an adventure to walk out than a script that binds and constricts. The most interesting conversations are the ones with surprises. This approach means never knowing when the conversation is going to take a wild turn. There’s no way to control the direction to fit my talking points. Going with the flow and trusting God to help you navigate and point back to Him along the way is key. This is something David Platt refers to as “gospel sewing,” described like this in his book Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.

“Their goal is to sew threads of the gospel into the fabric of every interaction . . . [in] every conversation, in every business dealing, at every meal, and in every meeting, they look for opportunities to speak about who God is, how God loves, what God is doing in the world, and supremely what God has done for us in Christ. . . . They simply try to saturate all of their interactions with various strands of the gospel, like weaving various colored threads of a quilt. Their prayer is that . . . God will open the eyes of men and women around them to behold the tapestry of the gospel, and they will come to Christ.” (181)

I’ve never been much of a sewer—I count on my mom’s expertise even for hemming—but I love this description of conversationally sharing who God is, with everyone, everywhere. It lines up well with the work I’m honored to do with Spread Truth, an organization that wants to help spread the Good News of God’s grace through meaningful conversations that touch on the deepest questions we have about life and faith. In this way, the tapestry of the Gospel is woven together, word by word.


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