*WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Ivan has been in Jon’s math class for the past couple days. Ivan is new. Jon noticed that Ivan has been sitting in class but not getting to know anyone. Jon would like to reach out to Ivan, but he feels awkward about that because the only thing he knows about him is his name. What would you say to Jon to coach him in starting a conversation with Ivan?
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THIS?
*Many people in the Bible, especially Jesus, were good at starting conversations with others. Let’s look at two examples and talk about what they did and how this could help someone like Ivan.
1. Who started the conversations? What did they do? How did the Ethiopian and the rich man respond?
2. What can we learn from these conversations that would help us talk to people we meet?
3. God often brings people into our lives for us to talk to. He wants to use us to show them the love of Christ and how to have a relationship with him. For some of us, talking to people we don’t know well is super easy. For others of us, it is a scary and uncomfortable thing to do. How would you describe yourself when it comes to talking with others, especially those you don’t know well?
4. What are some barriers we can face when we try to start a conversation with someone like Ivan was trying to do with Jon?
5. From the Acts 8 passage, which of the barriers we just discussed do you think Philip might have faced? How do you think he got through these barriers?
HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR LIVES?
6. At the top of the page there is a picture of a roller coaster. How can starting conversations with people you don’t know feel like getting on a roller coaster?
7. What are some things you could say to start a conversation with someone you don’t know well or just met?
*After coming up with some ideas of your own, you might want to check out our “Conversation Cheat Sheet” on five things you could say to start a conversation with someone you don’t know on the back of the student guide.
8. For practice, play the beach ball game (if you don’t have a ball use a wadded up piece of paper). Sit in a circle and have one person hold the ball and say “Hi” to someone across the circle and ask a question. Then throw the ball to that person who has to answer your question and ask you one before throwing the ball back to you. For example, “Hey I noticed your shirt, are you a basketball fan?” (Throw the ball to the other person) “Yes mostly college ball, my favorite team is____. What about you, what’s your team?” (Throw the ball back). Continue the conversation for a minute before throwing the ball to someone else. Let everyone have a chance to practice if there is time.
9. How could friendly conversations eventually lead to talking about your faith?
10. Read Acts 1:8. How can the Holy Spirit help you take the first step in starting a conversation with someone?
11. Your assignment for this lesson is to get into a conversation with someone. This can be a person you have never talked to or someone you know but have not spent much time talking with. Just be friendly and take the time to listen to what they have to say. Next week we will talk about what happened and learn more about how to turn a casual conversation into one about faith.
CONVERSATION CHEAT SHEET
It can be hard to know how to break through these four sound barriers when you’re talking to people. Below, we have some ideas for how you can move through them so that you can have better spiritual conversations. Use these, come up with your own, or brainstorm other ideas with a friend. Just keep the conversations moving toward Christ.
STARTING A CONVERSATION
(Ideas for going from no conversation to a conversation)
- Hi, I’m_____are you new here? I don’t think I’ve seen you around.
- Did you see the game/Super Bowl/Olympics/March Madness/World Series/etc last night? Who did you want to win?
- What kind of music are you into?
- Do you want to sit with us at lunch? I noticed you have a new schedule.
- Hey, I saw your t-shirt. Are you a ______ fan?
(Ideas for going from a conversation into a spiritual conversation)
- Is your family religious? Do you believe the same way they do?
- Do you ever think about God or want to know more about Him?
- Do you go to church (or temple or mosque) anywhere?
- If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?
- Have you heard of Cru? It’s a group of students who get together and talk about how God relates to their lives. Would you be interested in checking it out sometime?
BRINGING UP JESUS
(Ideas for going from a spiritual conversation into a conversation about Jesus and the Gospel)
- From what you know about Jesus, who do you think he was?
- Using a scale from 1–10, how sure are you that you will go to heaven when you die?
- Can I show you a few things that have helped me have a relationship with God?
- Jesus has made a big impact on my life. Can I tell you about it?
- In Cru I’ve been learning about how to have a relationship with God. Can I tell you what I’ve learned?
If someone wants to receive Christ with you, you could lead them through a prayer like this…
“Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.”
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN HAVING CONVERSATIONS
- Take the first step.
- Talk about the other person, show an interest and be encouraging.
- Listen carefully, care about them as a person and what they have to say.
- Ask open ended questions (not yes/no).
- Breaking through these sound barriers is awkward. That is why we call them “barriers”. Don’t worry about having all the right words, just push through the awkwardness and start the conversation.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.