I’m a strong believer in the power and effectiveness of casual conversation, so much so that I dedicated an entire chapter to it in my book, “Where’s the ‘Why’ in Youth Ministry?” called “Youth Ministry and Dental Assisting.” Casual conversation can be one of the greatest social tools as well as ministry aspects you have. Id like to share three situations that I’ve witnessed over the past two days that have really made this more evident to me.
Right now, I sit in a chair in the waiting area of my barbershop. As I sit here, I hear the most fascinating (I use that word loosely) conversations. It’s not necessarily that the subject matter is that enthralling, but the fact that an incredible amount of friendly rapport is being built just by telling jokes, or talking about what happened over the weekend. This barber maintains a lot if his customers, I’d imagine, by simply setting an expectation that when people come for a haircut, they get a friendly, inviting atmosphere as a bit of an “escape” from the everyday norm.
Yesterday, I made a trip with my pastor to see a friend who was about to undergo surgery. When we were there, it was interesting to see the amount of casual, non-surgery-related conversation going on. This was especially fascinating in that it seemed to improve the overall state-of-mind of the patients. I concluded from this that a lot of times, people facing uncertain circumstances often just need someone with whom to have a simple conversation.
I already mentioned that I made this trip with my pastor. Now, the stereotypical person would think that once we get in the car, the conversation is related to nothing but ministry. However, with a combined 4 hours in the car, this isn’t an easy feat. But there was a lot of casual conversation on this trip. And I found it very valuable. It’s comforting for anyone to know that pastors are people, too. I wonder if people have thought this way about me with my ministry. I wonder if my students have ever thought I was “unapproachable,” but that barrier was actually broken down by simple conversation.
So never underestimate the effectiveness of just talking to someone. You could possibly change a life by simply talking about the weather.
Right now, it’s hot. And it’s my turn in the barber’s chair.