How do you think non-Christians would describe Christianity today in our country? Cas Monaco shared with us at our November event that some of the adjectives used in a survey done by Cru in 2016 were “offensive”, “inauthentic”, “unsafe”, and “irrelevant”. My guess is that, with all that has happened since that survey was done, those feelings are even more true today.
The question is: how can we share the gospel with non-believers who view Christianity that way and who live in a secularized culture? Of course, you may think that they won’t even listen to you if you try. Surprisingly, however, Cru also found that 84% of the non-believers they surveyed indicated that they are ready and willing to engage in spiritual conversations. They just don’t think that a Christian is ready for a conversation with someone who holds a different view than they do.
In this climate of “cancel culture”, it seems like authentic conversations are more needed than ever. As we think about this in the context of sharing the gospel, we need to remember that conversations are a two-way street. Like many of our generation, Cas and I were trained to make a presentation to share the gospel. But, as she said at our event, while in the past we were trained to “be prepared to present”, today we need to “be present and listen”. We need to follow the conversation, not just try to insert our agenda.
Cas also said that as we listen to their story, we should listen for the three core longings that every person has: peace, prosperity (i.e. enough to feel safe and secure), and purpose. And we should ask questions to be able to walk in their shoes and understand their needs and perspectives. The hope is that, in the midst of these conversations, God will give us the opportunity to create a better story as we share how God has met our deepest needs for peace, prosperity, and purpose.
The main impression I was left with as Cas spoke was that sharing the gospel this way requires authenticity and also truly caring about people. Caring enough to notice them, to ask how they are doing and really wanting to hear an answer that is more than “fine”. One woman who attended said that she feels like her problem is that she is always in a hurry. That resonated with me. My trips outside my house these days always have an agenda. I can be so focused on the task that I don’t take time to notice the people, to care about them enough to even start a conversation with them, and definitely not enough to think about sharing the gospel with them.
I was challenged by Cas but also encouraged and motivated. Will you trust God with me to slow down, notice people, and engage them in authentic, caring conversation to point them to Christ?
If you’d like to learn more about what Cas shared at our event, you can find much of it in a 2-part podcast with Winsome Conviction. You can listen to part 1 here and part 2 here. You can also find some in this article and this article at the Send Institute. And you can always check out her website, casmonaco.com.