We just love to tell our stories. Now more than ever before. We’re trained to tell the world what’s on our mind. If we’ve just ordered a really great dessert, we can upload a photo and within an instant that little “thumbs-up” reassures us that someone, somewhere out there, approves of our dining adventures. Social media has made it incredibly easy for us to share a page out of our daily lives.

It has also made it possible for me to know what’s going on in the lives of people I have not seen in years. My ten-year high school reunion is coming up, and thanks to Facebook, I already know what many of them have been up to.

Social media is awesome, but sometimes we can find ourselves in situations where we no longer know what to talk about in person. It’s easy enough to talk about superficial things, but to ask someone a more personal – even spiritual – question? That is becoming harder to do. To many, it sounds like crazy talk. But if we’re going to introduce people to Jesus, then at some point, our conversation needs to move on to spiritual matters.

Having spiritual conversations is not an insurmountable task. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is just getting started.

Being an online mentor is an excellent way to engage in spiritual conversations. Find out more about how you can get involved.

The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is an interesting one. Jesus already knew everything about this woman before they even started talking. He knew that she did not have a husband; she had five. (Talk about a complicated relationship status!) He saw her spiritual thirst. He knew what her soul actually craved. So he introduced himself as living water.

You might think, “Well, sure, it was easy for Jesus to strike up a conversation, but what about the rest of us?”

You don’t have to be all-knowing to start a spiritual conversation; all you really need is a great question that connects to someone’s spiritual longings. Because, like the woman at the well, we all have desires yearning to be met.

The need for intimacy, destiny, and meaning is universal. Talking about those needs can be a great place to start a spiritual conversation. Here are a few questions that may help you start:

Destiny (themes of ambition, dreams, progress, and failure, fantasy, apathy, hopelessness):

  1. What do you want to accomplish in life?
  2. What fears are holding you back from pursuing your dreams?

Intimacy (themes of love, community, belonging and betrayal, jealousy, bitterness, hatred):

  1. Do you have to meet certain expectations to earn approval from the people in your life?
  2. Is there someone in your life that you would do anything for?

Meaning (themes of faith, truth, status, significance, and doubt, fear, cynicism, selfishness):

  1. Where do you find meaning in your life?  Do you have a faith?
  2. How do you face obstacles and disappointments?

Can you think of other questions you can ask to break the ice?

updated August 2019

Photo Credit: Matus Laslofi