We have all been there–those large, social gatherings where we’re supposed to nibble on finger food, balance a glass of cheer, and chat with people we barely know. Aside from being awkward, the talk can be surface and unfulfilling.
Stagnant Lives Feed on Stale Conversation
For many, our lives have grown stagnant. We do the forced march of our daily routine, throw on our evening holiday attire that we wear every year at this time, and attend another one of those events that we’re glad to be invited to, and equally relieved when it’s over.
The problem isn’t the party, or the people, but the predictability
As Michael Frost says in his book, Surprise the World, “…one of the primary acts of the evangelistic believer is the arousal of curiosity among unbelievers, leading to questions and sharing faith.” Frost calls it “living questionable lives” and says, “If all believers are leading the kinds of lives that evoke questions from their friends, then opportunities for sharing faith abound.”
Live questionably this Christmas
Which brings us full circle to that holiday gathering of friends, neighbors, or colleagues. Len Sweet, author of From Tablet to Table, exposes the truth of our dry, relational fare that chokes our relationships. Sweet encourages us to notice our neighbors and loved ones, and look at opportunities for dialogue as sacred (which typically revolves around good food).
Here is a gateway to meaningful conversation with someone you barely know. These questions trump talk of the weather, while not being creepy personal. More importantly, these questions will be a welcome surprise, and possibly open a door to share the hope that is in you–your faith in Jesus.
Try to remember three from this list to toss out the next time you are standing in that awkward position of what to say, and sprinkle in a few surprises:
- What makes you laugh?
- What song has been stuck in your head today?
- What were the bright moments of your day?
- What do you wish you could have changed about today?
- What would you invent to make life easier?
- If all electronics disappeared, how would you spend your time?
- If you were given $1,000 to help people, how would you use it?
- Who is a person you really valued recently?
- What inspires you?
- What is something you want to learn to do? Why?
- What are you most looking forward to in the New Year?
- Did anything make you laugh today? What was it?
Dive deeper into surprisingly simple ways to share your faith in Surprise the World by Michael Frost. For more on table talk, you’ll enjoy From Tablet to Table, which Worship Leader magazine named one of the five best books of 2015.