Now that summer is officially here, many of us are looking forward to firing up the grill, taking in the long days, and enjoying a little rest and relaxation. Summer also provides some great opportunities to build relationships with your friends and neighbors who may not know Christ.
During the People Groups Discovery and Engagement workshop held at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina offices, Bryan Galloway and Terry Sharp with the International Mission Board shared some conversation starters that you can use to get to know others. Plus, these all start with the letter F, so they’ll be easy to remember.
So as you’re planning your next backyard barbeque, trip to the park or baseball outing, invite some friends and neighbors to come along. Use the following topics as a guide to engage them in conversation and get to know them better as you lay the groundwork to engage them in gospel conversations.
Asking about family lets them know you are interested in their life. It also shows that you share common ground in that family is an important aspect of both your lives. When talking with individuals from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds, you can also learn about certain family customs, structures or dynamics unique to their environment.
Asking about friends lets you know how a person likes to spend their time and who they like to spend it with. It might also reveal some of their hobbies and interests. You might just find that you share more in common with that person than you think.
Who doesn’t like to talk about food? Asking about food can help you learn about social customs or places your friends and neighbors like to gather. Such a conversation could open up more opportunities to converse and continue building a relationship. After all, there are 21 meal times in a week. Why not use some of them for making disciples?
Faith or festivals
Many of us have been taught that it’s best not to talk about religion or politics. Yet many people from other parts of the world living here in the United States can be very open about discussing their religious beliefs. Take time to really learn about what they believe and why they believe what they do. Additionally, many cultures have various festivals that they regularly engage in. Many communities also hold various international festivals throughout the year. See if there’s a cultural festival coming up in your community and make plans to attend.
Ask those you are building a relationship with about their future goals and plans. Doing so will show you care about them as an individual. Plus, you may discover that you have a shared interest that could help your relationship to grow deeper.
Asking open-ended questions on topics such as these will go a long way toward helping you really get to know another person. Remember that showing genuine interest in them and their lives will go a long way toward earning the right to be heard when the time is right to share God’s truth.
So enjoy your summer to the glory of God!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally ran on June 25, 2015 after the People Groups Discovery and Engagement workshop held in the spring of 2015.
by Chad Austin / Communications Team / Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
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