How to Talk to People

42 Seconds Book Review about how to talk to people about Jesus and like Jesus

“Christian college,” was sandwiched in the middle of the sentence I said to the hair dresser as she sprayed and combed. We were about two minutes into my haircut and she was asking why I’d moved to the area and what my husband’s new job was.

Her flinch was made more noticeable by twitch of the comb in my hair.

I’d recently learned what an elevator speech was. A church we visited was encouraging everyone to memorize a 40 second speech about Jesus. When people asked us why we were Christians, the speech was supposed to sum it up.

Trouble was, no one ever asked why I was a Christian. Most people I met who weren’t believers reacted like my new hairdresser to the very word.

Sharing Romans Road or another Gospel technique out of the blue? In my experience, that’s often a sure way to shut down conversations and sometimes even relationships.

In his new book, 42 Seconds, Carl Medearis admits this point and offers a compelling solution: be like Jesus.

After learning that the average length of Jesus’ recorded conversations was 42 seconds, Medearis began to look into Jesus’ own evangelization method. What he found and shares in the book is heartening!

Medearis offers really simple advice for practical action, like:

  • Be kind
  • Do something small
  • Accept that you are not God
  • Stand alone (when necessary)

The conversational tone of the book makes it easy and enjoyable to read. Each chapter is short and to the point. Medearis is encouraging, too.

Quotes include:

  • “Small things that may seem insignificant have always been the keys to Jesus’ kingdom.”

  • “Strategy doesn’t lead to real conversations…” many are “simply monologues pretending to be conversations.”

  • “Jesus always works, but sometimes I don’t.”

In one my favorite passages, Medearis clarifies 3 methods for understanding God’s Word so we can share it more effectively:

“1. We interpret what might be confusing in light of what’s clear.

2. We interpret the minority of verses through the lens of the majority.

3. We recognize context.”

I recommend this book if you’d like to be less intimidated by evangelization. It makes for a great devotional and could be used as a group, too.

<This review is written in exchange for a free copy of the book provided by Tyndale House Publishers.>


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14 Replies to “How to Talk to People

  1. This book sounds like something I need to read and re-read. First of all, I’m terrible at small talk. Terrible. And I’m practically phobic about that “monologue pretending to be a conversation.”
    I’m convinced that we (Christians) need to focus on forging deep and meaningful relationships with the unsaved who are already part of our circle, and let the Holy Spirit do His thing in opening up the way for us to be salty and bright.

    1. Me too Michele! I often apologize to people I’m getting to know for how weird I am in conversation. Which is even weirder haha. This book was truly helpful in focusing in on the point of conversation and practicals for relating casually and lovingly. Some it felt obvious, but in the sort of way that taking an aspirin is obvious but is sometimes delayed for no apparent reason. And I so agree! Personally, I think it’s harder to forge those relationship in our circles because in some way we feel we have more to lose, but that isn’t a godly reason not to be more intentional, loving, and prayerful that the Spirit would do His work!

      1. Bethany this book sounds interesting and after reading your response to this reply I couldn’t resist responding to your reply. Anyways I want to say is when you have conversations with people an it seems weird or awkward embrace the weirdness use that for a segway in conversations.

  2. Wow! This book sounds convicting in learning how Jesus discipled others. This past year I have been going through a discipleship cohort and the ideas that you state are ones that align with what I am learning. Thank you for sharing this review!

  3. Great review, Bethany,, and this sounds like a really helpful book. Those random conversations can be so difficult. I liked the practical tips from the book. It is encouraging that God can use even the little things we do and say to make a difference for him.

  4. Sounds like an interesting book, Bethany! Witnessing isn’t exactly the easiest thing for me to do so I could use a read like this for sure.

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