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Unity: Using Conversation to Add Value

This is lesson two of the Unity series Bible study.  If you have not did lesson one yet, please read and go through that first before starting this lesson.

To review we learned about intent in unity, to have some intention forces us to take action.  we also learned in step one that we have to begin by understanding how to value ourselves.  If we do not make up our minds to focus on unity, it will not change by itself.  This next lesson is about conversations and how to have them in addition to how to value people.

Conversation verses Conversion

Adjust your strategy from “look at us” to “lets talk about you”  The ultimate “Value Concept”

John 4: 1-42
  • Jesus knew how to listen for meaningful conversations
  • Do you think that with every single conversation Jesus had, that something amazing, miraculous or healing occurred? Something worthy or to be mentioned in scripture?  I am referring to probably thousands of conversations.

Yesterday I had someone over working on something for the church.  While we were working on it, I told him that this was for our church and that it was going to be something that added value to the church and the teen ministry.  It began a conversation about how he had used to go to church but usually plays golf on Sundays.  A friend of his was always inviting him to go to Tampa and participate in a feed the poor event.  He kept going on about how he should go, but never goes, and that he should probably just skip golf and go one day and on and on.  I did not hardly get a word in except for an occasional “wow” or ‘hmm”  When he finished his story, he said “I want to donate my time on this repair to the church, no charge”  I was a little surprised and expressed my gratefulness.  I said he did not have to do this but he was insistent, so I said, thank you.  As I was telling another disciple about the story they asked, “so why didn’t you invite them to church?”  I am sure that is what many of you are probably thinking too.  Actually I did invite him, just not in the way that most of us think about it.  We probably had one of the best conversations about church and giving and serving that I have ever had with someone not part of the church and it was HIS IDEA to have it.  How effective would it be for me to say, well now you really need to come out to church, be impacted by the scriptures and get baptized?  That is the conversion side of us that wants to get right to the point.  What is more powerful, letting someone see your faith and figuring out (intent) that they want to do something or being self centered and telling them why they should come?

I am not saying don’t invite, what  I am saying is there is real power in conversation and letting people figure out the missing link.  More importantly we have not built any trust.  Trust is key, if someone does not trust you, it does not matter what you say.

We need to get away from the “selfie promotion” technique of sharing. We assume that people will want to come to our church or our event because it’s OUR event and that we are excited about it.  Guess what, most people don’t care about your church, your new series, your game night or your fill in the blank.

Our messages are self-centered, they are really about us instead of about adding value. It’s one of the reasons why churches are ignored today, we have not taken the time to figure out what impacts people and we have built no trust.
  • Check out our brand new series or subject
  • We are having an “epic” event
  • We have this program or this thing or this speaker
Do you see the difference in the conversations shown in the video verses the ones we tend to have when we are trying to get someone to come to church?  Let people get impacted by fulfilling their needs, by figuring out that there is someone else that feels or felt the same way.  People deep down want to belong, they don’t give a rip about a group picture or a picture of an event.  They want to be given too.  That is what Jesus was excellent at, giving to people.  Going to places and changing people’s lives by adding value.  The sooner we all work together the sooner we will realize collectively that we can change and be unified.

Decide on how you show up.  What you look like, where you sit, how you sing, what you say, the look on your face.

When you decide to show up consistently as the best version of who you are,  it gives you the best opportunity to meet people where they are.  And you never know when someone needs you to be your best.

What conversations are you having that someone else will never forget? 

Trust

The key to conversation is building trust.  If someone trusts you, they will listen to everything you say and allow their hearts to be impacted.  Sometimes trust is earned quickly and sometimes people are long term projects of building friendships and trust.  When someone trusts you, you earn the right to ask and be a part of their life.

Point 2. You have to value people. This builds off our first point about valuing yourself. Now imagine every single person having that concept on straight. At some point you will realize that every single person that walks through the door has something extraordinary to give.  Part of our job in being unified is helping them give that special talent to others.  Do you know what the other part is?  It’s going to blow your mind, you are going to think that it’s too simple or silly to even be mentioned.  You might even think it’s selfish and contradictory to this message.  That amazing part is this: you get to experience and drink from that persons cup of value.  Does that change the way you look at a specific member in the church?  Maybe it’s the wall flower who sits in the back, maybe it’s the visitor that walks in the door.  Maybe they are crude, unspiritual and maybe even clueless.  But guess what?  They are a specialty tool just like you.  That person is here for a reason, so are you.

Questions: (break up into groups or do them at home with follow up)
  • Does this change anything for you? If not why?
  • Does this change the way that you look at others in regards to being unified?
  • Do you feel like our church is unified? This is a tough question.  If not, could it be that not everyone understands how to value one another?
  • Do I build trust with people or am I just a shallow invite church machine?
  • How do I “show up” to church? Am I late?  Am I flustered?  Do I give?  Am I engaged with others?  Do I sit in the back?
  • Does my job allow me to have conversations? Do I look for those opportunities?  If not, do I pray for those opportunities?  This is probably one of the most selfless prayers that we can have that never go unanswered because God works through opportunities.  There are countless scriptures about this very subject.
  • What opportunities to serve are out there that you have been ignoring? Spend some time with this one, it’s a deep think.
  • Am I trustworthy? Do I have a hidden agenda that people have branded me with?
  • Are we good at asking engaging questions and then listening?
  • Ask someone what having a conversation with you is like.

Colossians 4:6  Let your conversations always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.