How do you introduce spirituality when the dreamers are not Christian?
This is a tricky situation, especially when you are in an outreach or evangelistic setting. The key is to listen.
Listen to the language that the dreamer is using. Listen to the words that Holy Spirit is prompting you to use in the interpretation.
It would be wise not to jump in with a lot of language that we commonly use in church. Some words are not used out with the church walls and so would have little or no meaning for the dreamer. Other words may be ‘loaded’ with experiences from the dreamer’s past. For example, in the interpretation you might say that the dream has been sent by their ‘Heavenly Father’. However, if the dreamer had a bad relationship with their earthly father, or were abused by him in some way, these memories may be stirred by the word ‘father’. Instead of being able to receive the blessing contained in the dream the dreamer is more likely to reject anything that is said.
Other words, such as ‘Jesus’ or ‘church’ may come with baggage as far as the dreamer is concerned. This is especially the case if they have had a Catholic or very conservative upbringing. It may be that they have developed a warped view of who, or what, these words refer to. Remember that John Paul Jackson produced resources based on the 365 Names of God, but in church circles today we have got fixed on using just a small handful. You may feel prompted to talk about the Spirit of Light and Truth, or the Great Teacher, or Creator, or any other way that God is described in Scripture. These may connect with the dreamer in ways that our usual, limited vocabulary would do.
If the dreamer is in front of you, you could start by asking them to describe their spiritual life. Answers to this question can give you some insight into how to word the interpretation. For example, the dream might say that they went to Sunday School when they were a child but now they are an atheist or Buddhist or scientist or whatever.
You might remember this story from Speaking Their Language –
One dreamer wanted to know who the ‘groom’ was in her dream. The team all knew that the groom represented Jesus, but none of use felt the release to mention that. We suggested that as the Creator of the Universe gave her the dream that she asks Him directly. This led to an amazing spiritual experience for the dreamer in which she was taken to space and travelled through the stars with the Prince of the Universe who had put the stars there simply because He loved her. The team then spent the next few minutes referring to Jesus as the Prince of the Universe and how he walked the earth 2000 years ago and died because of His love for her. Eventually the dreamer asked us if we were talking about Jesus? We said ‘yes’. The dreamer then said that as she was flying through space she kept hearing the name ‘Jesu’ but she didn’t want it to be Jesus. It turned out that she had been brought up in Spain and attended a Catholic school – her view of who Jesus is/was had been tainted by that, but the Jesus she had encountered during her experience showed her that the reality was very different. Jesus did love her!
The team I was part of learned a valuable lesson that day, being obedient to God is more important than being right straight away. Just because we knew that the groom was Jesus didn’t mean we should share what we knew. If we had blundered in and started talking about Jesus being the bridegroom all the pre-conceived ideas that had stemmed from the dreamer’s upbringing would have created a barrier that would stop her receiving the message God wanted for her. God, in His infinite wisdom, had a much better introduction in store and it had more of an impact than we could ever have imagined.
Hopefully this story will encourage you. There is no exact answer that I can give to the question posed by the title of this blog. The right words to use will vary from dreamer to dreamer. So listen well to the promptings from God and trust that He knows best for the person who’s dream you are working on.
If you want to consider how else you can explain ‘church’ words to non-Christians, then I would recommend that you take another look at ‘Speaking Their Language’ as a start point. This is not a definitive list, it was simply meant to stimulate ideas in your own mind as to other options for words.