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Are You A Religious Person?

Of all of the questions or tools you can use to start a conversation about Jesus and share your faith with someone, this one may be the most useful: “Are you a religious person?”

There are many ways of opening up a faith conversation. Perhaps you’ve heard these types of questions: Do you go to church? Where are you on your spiritual journey? What do you believe about God? What do you believe about Jesus? But these questions and others all assume some familiarity with Christianity—church, spiritual journey, etc. Sometimes you need a question that everyone can understand, yet not feel threatened by. And believe it or not, though the word, religious, may seem like a threatening word, or a Christian word, it is not. It is nothing more than a simple descriptor. It can refer to any religion or religious philosophy, and can even refer to atheism. As a general descriptor, religion is neutral. 

Imagine a general conversation with someone you’ve just met in a waiting room, or an airplane, or anywhere. You go through the regular litany of asking a person about his or her life, what do they do, marriage, kids, background, etc. In such a common situation it then becomes normal and nonthreatening to simply ask, “Are you a religious person?”

Notice, you are not asking, “What religion are you?’ You’re asking, “Are you a religious person?” The question is more general and can invite a number of responses.

What kind of answer can you expect? Everyone is different and you could encounter a variety of responses. Some will be positive, some will be negative, but each is an opportunity to share your faith relative to what the other person says. 

Imagine one such exchange: 

“Are you a religious person?”

“No, not really, though I grew up in church.”

“Did you enjoy it?”

“I don’t know. I never really thought about it. We just went when I was a kid. But I never gave it much thought.”

“That’s interesting. I didn’t grow up in a religious home, but I became a Christian after I became an adult and now I go regularly…”

You’ll know if the person talking to you wants to continue the conversation or not. They may quickly change the subject or not reply to what you’ve shared. Feel out the conversation respectfully and see where it goes. Remember, a conversation about religion is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of. Most people have an opinion about religion and don’t mind sharing their perspective. Welcome it! Through such a simple exchange the Lord may open a door for you to talk more specifically about Jesus and what he means to you. Be prepared to share about how Jesus changed your life. And even prepare yourself with a simple tool like, “The Four Spiritual Laws,” to share more specifically.

Tom Terry is head of Global Broadcast Strategy for JESUS Film Project and serves as General Manager of The Better FM, an online radio station for Asia. Tom is also the author of several books, including Bible studies and "Like An Eagle," his biography about living in Mongolia for ten years.
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