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Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk Paperback – May 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Read Coffee Shop Conversations if you want to engage in interesting provocative dialogue about your faith and journey. The Finchers are bright, thoughtful, and great conversationalists. The evidence is in story after story of fascinating encounters with all kinds of people, and they handle them with grace and truth.” -- Dick Staub|“No message is more important than this: the God of the universe knows all about you, and he loves you and forgives you. Every person touched by that good news should want to share it with others. Why don’t they? Sometimes, it’s simply this: nobody has coached them how to do it in a natural and unpretentious way. Coffee Shop Conversations provides a way for all Christians to make the gospel clear and accessible to everyone. The Finchers’ style of evangelism is both self-aware and empathetic. I highly recommend this book for all who take Jesus’ command to make disciples seriously. I will be using this book in my evangelism courses.” -- Jerry Root|“My roommate is quite openly gay and quite openly confused about religion in general. We've had many great discussions, but some of the points from chapter three---the conversation stoppers---spoke so well to what we talk about. The combination of personal experience and theological background is so helpful for me for our future conversations! This book is applicable to such a wide spectrum of people because, despite the fact that religion is one of those 'no-go' conversation topics, it is very much talked about. This [book] offers people the skills to make a spiritual conversation a little easier, and hopefully less offensive, harsh, and heated but more informational and caring.” -- Ally Packer|“This is helpful, thoughtful, culturally-savvy guidance for spiritual conversations. Read it and learn.” -- John Ortberg|“Coffee Shop Conversations is really not a book about talking. It’s a compilation of personal stories that demonstrate how to listen to non-Christians with empathy. It’s a timely book for evangelicals, one that shows us how to love without compromising truth and holiness.” -- Sarah Sumner|“Coffee Shop Conversations is refreshing, bold, and engaging. Dale and Jonalyn have done a wonderful job of highlighting the importance of genuinely engaging people in meaningful spiritual conversations in the manner and spirit of Jesus.” -- Sean McDowell

From the Back Cover

A 2008 study released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life notes that the number of people creating their own interpretations of faith and culture is growing. Seems like there are as many different styles of faith as ways to order your latte. How does a Christian have normal conversations about Jesus without accidentally sounding offensive, bigoted or intolerant? You will find the tools you need for meaningful, tolerant, and respectful conversations about your faith with friends who don't share your views. Forget the 'fire and brimstone' approach and the awkward insistence to get other people 'saved.' You will discover how to be yourself without alienating others. You'll learn: How to walk in another person's shoes. Ways to gently invite others to share. The buzz words that will stop a conversation cold. How to navigate today's hot-topics. Tools to recover the true meaning of Scripture often obliterated by spiritual writers. How to talk about Jesus as a unique spiritual leader. You will discover how to invite people to become fully who Jesus wants them to be through this coffee shop approach to friendships in your community. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 1 edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310318874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310318873
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jon Snyder on August 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just finished Coffee Shop Conversations and thought is was outstanding! Much of my family, most of my closest friends, and almost all of my coworkers do not know Jesus. I love them all, and pray for them earnestly that they would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are intelligent people with well thought-out spiritual opinions, and they ask tough questions. I have found myself ill-equipped to engage them in meaningful conversations about Jesus and spirituality, especially when I find myself in a situation where I only have a few minutes to speak with them. As a professional engineer with a natural bent for identifiable processes, I found Coffee Shop Conversations to be an excellent how-to manual for engaging in spiritual conversations and addressing challenging social issues in our society. I am now much better prepared for those conversations; and while I read this book in hopes of preparing for those conversations, I found that the greatest insights this book offers were insights into my own spirituality and following Jesus more appropriately.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lisa notes... on December 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've ever walked away from a conversation thinking, "What precious time we just wasted in idle chitchat," read this book!

It teaches you how to steer conversations to subjects that MATTER, with truth and gentleness, while avoiding being offensive or bullying or just plain weird.

It will open your eyes to how non-believers think so you can move past barriers that typically keep believers and non-believers from sustaining a religious discussion.

In contrast to the beat-over-the-head-with-a-Bible method too often misused in evangelism, the Finchers suggest using seven specific manners for an effective spiritual conversation, including:
Respect one another
Step into their shoes
Wrestle on your own
Share your personal experience
Allow others to remain unconvinced

You'll end up examining how well YOU know Jesus and what you really believe about the "good news" yourself.

The Finchers tell you to keep it simple so you don't get sidetracked on non-essential issues. Remember you are inviting others to Jesus, not to your denomination or particular church.

They teach you how to be free to be yourself as you talk about Jesus in ordinary conversations with ordinary people. Thanks to this book, I feel more confident that I can do this!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Susy Flory on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
When it comes to sharing your faith, do you operate chipmunk-style or coffeehouse-style? If you go the way of the chipmunk, you're on a mission to scurry out and spread the Gospel, then hurry back to your hole. It can be scary, tense, performance-driven, and guilt laden. (If I sound like I know this style intimately, I do. And it paralyzed me from talking freely about my faith for a very long time.) The problem? Most of the time you feel like a failure because sharing your faith with someone doesn't often result in an immediate change of heart. Leaving the well-traveled grooves of a life lived without God takes time and the work of the Holy Spirit.

But coffeehouse-style is different. Coffee Shop Conversations, by Dale Fincher and Jonalyn Fincher, brews up a fresh way to share your faith and a key component is something I was never taught to do when I learned the ways of evangelism: listening. "All people are like packages," write the Finchers. "God invites us to look beyond the outside labels and give people our attention. Jesus shows us how to open the envelopes of people's lives and know our neighbors beyond the roles they play. Like the wrapping, our bodies conceal our souls within. Each person holds unknown surprises, unique concerns, interests, and motivations. What's inside the packages we call people?"

So rather than seeing people as a project, a target, or a mission, we need to see them as precious and unique individuals who cannot be approached with a one-size-fits-all memorized technique. We need to be present, awake and aware in the moment, and primed to infuse even the briefest interaction with meaning.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By kalelman on May 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although evangelism in Christian culture can seem more like a set of organized events (handing out tracks, organized visitation) Dale and Jonalyn offer a refreshing approach that many of us overlook in the Scriptures. In a approachable and conversational style we are beckoned to engage people for who they are, creations of God, not objects to obtain. Their honesty breaks through and examples of mistakes and victories helped me relate. I appreciate the humility that resonates through the book, I don't feel Dale and Jonalyn are preachy but using a journey they are on to to bring us along side to break down barriers to the Gospel. One quote particularly intrigued me "The only time we have a right to talk with someone and introduce Jesus is when we're certain we see them as equally human, broken, and in pain like us".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany A. Harkleroad VINE VOICE on November 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes, Christians are not sure how to talk about their faith in a way that is real and relatable. They worry about not having all the answers, saying the wrong thing, or being confronted with tough or controversial issues of faith. This book serves as a guide to help Christians have "coffee shop conversations" about religion, real talk about God in a way that has meaning, relevance, and admits mistakes.

I think this is probably the best book I have ever read about how to witness your Christian faith. Dale and Jonalyn talk about how to be open and honest, how to have manners when talking about belief systems (which is applicable to more than just religion), how to admit mistakes and avoid them, and how to be honest and open about what God really means to you.

So often, Christians talk a good game, using spiritual vocabulary, and it ends up coming across as very off putting to non-believers. This book shows you how to be more in touch with yourself, and how to share yourself with others, while being open to others sharing themselves with you. It all boils down to love.

There were parts of the book I did not like as well as others, and Part I was my hands down favorite part of the book, but overall, I thought this was a great, no nonsense tool for Christians to use for personal growth and improving relationships with others, regardless of whether conversion occurs. I look forward to reading more books by both Dale and Jonalyn. You need to read this, real talk.
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