Having Spiritual Conversations

Author: Michelle Cowen, Director of Sales and Strategic Church Partnerships

The last few years have been full of heightened stress, economic challenges, political divisions, racial tensions, health concerns and fears. Simultaneously, people entered into an unprecedented time of isolation and loneliness. On top of it all, the church is in the midst of a huge cultural shift. Many are abandoning the faith of their parents and Christian traditions in which they were raised. According to Pew Research, 59% of American Millennials raised in Church no longer attend.1

Surprisingly, while church attendance continues to decline and the buzzword of ‘deconstruction’ is on the rise – we find people are hungry for spiritual conversations. According to Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, “most…are open to talking about faith. It really isn’t about religious liberty, people not wanting to hear, or religion being off-limits.”2  Simply put, many of our friends, neighbors and family members are curious about other people’s faith. People are interested in having weighty conversations.

Within these realities, how has the Church responded? How have each of us responded?

As so many of us found ourselves in difficult circumstances, I wonder – did we intentionally make space to be a safe landing place for our friends, neighbors and colleagues? Did we invite them to process and ask hard questions? Or, instead, have we focused on avoiding ‘hard’ things? Have we navigated away from the opportunity to engage in raw, authentic and perhaps uncomfortable situations by avoiding people who we know have different beliefs than ourselves.

I want to invite us into considering some ideas on how to pursue and steward relationships with those who believe differently than ourselves.

It’s Going to Take Some Practice. If you’re like many – having hard conversations does not come naturally. Truly, a grace-filled, difficult conversation is a skill to be practiced. The idea of openly disagreeing with someone, while consistently pursuing friendship can seem counterintuitive. As moms, we only have so many hours in the day – so how can we devote our precious time toward something or someone that may prove challenging?

Jesus shows us an incredible example in John 3:1-21 when He talks with Nicodemus. “He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ ” Basically, he shows up in the middle of the night, wants proof about who Jesus actually is and needs some answers. And Jesus lovingly gives them.

Also, did you catch the part about him coming over at night? Imagine how radical it would be for your neighbors to know you’re a Christian, know you disagree on many topics and to still be invited into close friendship. To be viewed as a safe place to ask questions in the middle of the night. This only comes from consistent, loving relationship.

What Does your Social Media Look Like? Our personal social media presence is one element of our lives that can either invite people into or dissuade them from spiritual conversations. The content we choose to share is always an invitation or a marker. It serves as a characterization of our lives. If you post it – it must be important. If you post it – it must be what you believe.

Some helpful questions when considering what to post or not post:

  • Do the things I post on social media invite my friends into deeper relationship?
  • If I choose to post something that is the opposite of what I know many of my non-Christian friends believe – is this going to gently point them to Jesus?
  • Is social media the space in which I hope to demonstrate how Christ has impacted my life?
  • Do I need to comment or post about this cultural moment? Or is silence prudent?

Social media can be a powerful tool in sharing the love of Jesus with our friends and family. However, it’s always important for us to consider just who may be scrolling on our profile and what they may find. We should never shy away from the truth, but we can make sure we’re delivering it in a way that draws people to Jesus.

Remember, your Kids are Watching. Never diminish the fact that our children are watching how we invest our time. We have the unique joy to model for them what it looks like to engage in hard conversations that are seasoned with grace.

 When we pursue relationships with people that may believe differently than ourselves we show our children that our ‘tables’ have room for everyone. We invite them into a posture of generosity and to the reality that each person is a mirror image of their Creator. As they watch us grow, tackle hard questions and learn they too will see the love of Jesus and that there is ample grace for us all.

Finally, consider this –

What if the church was the safest place to deconstruct? Imagine if questions, fears, concerns and doubts were met with honesty, care and consistent friendship. What so many people need is the opportunity to be loved during their darkest moments and then offered a pathway to rebuild. Not a forceful hand, but a presence in their lives that sometimes spans the length of years.

We must work to position the church as the safest place to answer questions on sexuality, racial injustice, politics and beyond. Let it start with each purposeful act of friendship. Together, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus in each grace filled, challenging and intentional conversation.


  • When were you last involved in a conversation that was grace-filled and yet challenging? What about the conversation made it grace-filled?
  • Do  you have relationships with people with whom you disagree? Are these relationships that model the love of Jesus and show others that you value  them as children of God?
  • What kind of a social media presence do you have? Does it point people to Jesus with love, grace and truth?
  • Is your church and your MOPS group a safe place for women to ask difficult questions and process the answers?  If not, what can YOU do to change that?



  1. https://kitkennedy.com/2019/08/15/why_millennials_are_leaving_church/
  2. https://research.lifeway.com/2022/02/22/most-open-to-spiritual-conversations-few-christians-speaking/