At GodTools we want to help both Christians and non-Christians enjoy having conversations about God. So in order to understand what makes spiritual conversations enjoyable to non-Christians, we’ve asked them directly.
In our recent research we’ve talked with dozens of non-Christians about what they want out of spiritual conversations with Christians. The results have been insightful. Here are a few things we’ve learned from them:
1. Who you are as a friend is more important to them than your faith
“I see [Christians in my life] as people and judge them based on their personality. I don’t actually care whether they are Christians or not.”
One theme that has come up again and again is that most non-Christians want you to be their friend first and foremost. What does being a friend practically look like in a conversation? They want you to respect them, and they want to have genuine conversations.
Non-Christians don’t want you to come into the conversation with an agenda or try to force the conversation a certain way. Who would? For help on being a genuine friend to the non-Christians in your life, check out our lesson, “How to love people by listening.”
2. Show them how faith has made a difference to you
“Tell me about you. Why did [Christianity] help you? What in particular do you get out of it? That would be fascinating.”
Non-Christians we’ve talked with have often expressed the desire to hear why faith is important to their Christian friend. They may have already heard a hundred times what Christians believe. They want to know why they believe it and how it impacts their everyday lives. If you need help thinking about how God has impacted your life recently, check out our lesson, “The power of your God story.”
3. Connect your faith to real life and the real world
“[Referring to stories from the Bible] How do these stories tie in with life today? With people’s interests today? With what’s important to them today? Otherwise it feels like bedtime stories.”
Talking with non-Christians about the Bible is often a non-starter. For many non-Christians, the Bible doesn’t hold any unique weight as a source of truth or wisdom. It seems like old fairy tales that aren’t even that interesting.
What is compelling, however, is when people can see how your faith impacts the real world. How is faith making you a better person, a better friend, a better influence on society? They want to see the benefit your faith has for you and the people around you. By seeing how you embody the truth and wisdom of Scripture, they will come to respect it. Our newest lesson, “How to demonstrate the gospel with your life,” talks about how to do this practically.
The non-Christians we’ve talked with love their Christian friends. It’s true that sometimes they’re a little weirded out by how those friends talk about God and spirituality. But many non-Christians long to have fun and meaningful spiritual conversations with Christians.
We’re grateful to these non-Christians for their honesty with us. And we hope hearing from them helps you see the potential for great conversations with the non-Christians in your own life.