Nov. 25 - David Mabry, Levels of Meaningful Conversation, Part 2
Updated: Jun 4, 2019
Last week, Greg explained the four levels of meaningful conversation that we can move through in our relationships with non-believers. You can read the full blog here, but this is a recap of the levels:
Relationship-based activity with little to no God talk.
Authentic conversation regarding your relationship with Christ, his church, and your personal discipleship.
Exposure to church community, worship and having authentic conversations about the faith questions they have.
Intentionally moving conversations toward a call to decision and discipleship.
This week, David Mabry expanded Greg’s concept to show what this would look like inside the church. We can use the same format of conversational levels to build intentional relationships with other Christ-followers for love, spiritual formation and growth, and partnership in the gospel.
When we look at Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, we get an overview of his relationship with the people there and we can use that as our model for how to live with a community of believers.
This is what the levels of meaningful conversation look like based on Paul’s example:
Everyday conversations: Share life with one another. Paul didn’t just swoop in, give a couple sermons, and head off to his next destination. He spent three years living among this group of believers and building close relationships with them.
Acts 20:31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.
APPLICATION: Spend time socially with people in your church family. Particularly with newer people and/or those who appear to be on the “fringe” of the church family. BE INTENTIONAL.
“God Story” Conversations: Take interest in their “God story” and share yours. Paul and the Ephesians had developed such a genuine, authentic and intimate relationship during his time there, it was hard for them to say goodbye.
Acts 36-38 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again.
APPLICATION: Ask people to share with you when and how they came to know Christ. Find out who had the biggest impact on their faith journey. Celebrate what God has done in their life with them.
Community Conversations: Involve others in Church community. This is about more than just attending service on Sundays or going to a potluck or two. He is talking about being deeply involved in a community of believers. Paul calls them to keep watch over themselves and their flock. It is very difficult to be part of a flock without being engaged. Be engaged with your church family!
Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,which he obtained with his own blood.
APPLICATION: Join a small group. Serve alongside others on a ministry team or service project. Do something WITH others to share Jesus and build up others in Him!
Spiritually Formative Conversations: Intentional spiritually-formative conversations of discipleship that call for daily decisions of surrender. Paul had a clear gospel message, good theology, and all with a strong love for those around him.
Acts:19-21 From the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 20:27-34 I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.
APPLICATION: Join or start a Bible study. Join or start a prayer group. Meet one-on-one with someone to be discipled or to disciple another (Bible study, Christian book study, a specific season of prayer).
If you need help on applying any of these to real life see a trusted Christian friend or a Newstart leader.