“What is your favorite dessert?”
Did you get the picture of it? Did you remember how it smells or tastes, or that it was eaten at grandma’s house? Couldn’t think of anything else, could you?
Columbia Business School cites neuro-science research that shows the brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When a question is asked, it goes into an instinctive answering mode. It is processing the answer to the question. This brain function can be very helpful when sharing the gospel with others.
I have had hundreds of “God conversations” with people through the years. I have used the Roman Road, the 4 Spiritual Laws, CWT, EE, The NET, Chick Tracts, the Gospel Cube, the wordless book, and many other things. I have memorized Bible verses, outlines, 3 Circles, and even drawn the cliff of Romans 6:23 on a napkin. All of these things have a place, and are helpful tools, lures in the tackle box. But one of the most helpful things I have done is to ask open ended questions.
Lee Strobel writes, “For the most part, evangelism happens through relationships, which are better nurtured by provocative questions than a memorized gospel speech.” In Socratic fashion, Jesus did the same thing. He asked questions, not just for information, but to help awareness and self-discovery. Here are just a few:
“Why do you call me good?” (Luke 18.19).
“What do you want me to do for you?…Can you drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” (Mark 10.35-38)
“What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18.35-41)
“What do you want?” (John 1.35-37)
“Will you give me a drink?” (John 4.7)
“Do you want to get well?” (John 5.6)
Jesus’ way of asking questions can help us as we share the reason for the hope that lies within us. Here are 8 questions I have picked up from others through the years for you to consider adding to your intentional, daily conversations:
- How can I pray for you?
This has opened up many opportunities for further conversation with neighbors, store clerks, and restaurant wait staff.
- Do you have any spiritual beliefs?
- Who do you think Jesus is?
- What happens to people when they die?
- What does it take for someone to go to heaven?
- Where are you in your spiritual journey? Have you come to a place where you are in relationship with the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus, or are you still trying to figure that out?
This generously assumes that all people consider spiritual things at one time or another.
- If what you believe is not true, would you want to know it?
If they answer yes, you have an open door to share more. If they say no, do not press in unless they ask for more. They probably will.
- What would keep you from following Jesus today?
This is also called the big ASK. This is the one most people do not ask. This is one of the most important. Many people ask the other questions and never get to this one.
Did you notice I never said anything about church? Did you notice I never said anything about baptism or “the stuff you do?” Part of what we do in asking people questions is to get them to understand where they are. The old line is, “you can’t get people saved until you get ‘em lost.”
Look for opportunities to ask people the above questions. Practice on your friends and work out from there. Randy Newman’s book, Questioning Evangelism is a great resource where you can learn more. He gives many other examples that can help you follow Jesus’ example and ask the right questions.
For more information on No Sweat Evangelism, go to nosweatevangelism.com. The Georgia Baptist Mission Board has an Evangelism Consultant in your specific region that can help you in leading your church members to follow Jesus and work in His harvest fields. For more information, please contact the Evangelism team of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and schedule a consultation. You can also join the conversation on Facebook!
 Columbia Business School, “Want To Know What Your Brain Does When It Hears A Question?,” Center for Decision Sciences, March 29, 2017, https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/decisionsciences/newsn/5051/want-to-know-what-your-brain-does-when-it-hears-a-question.
 Randy Newman and Lee Strobel, Questioning Evangelism, Second Edition: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did, 2nd edition (Kregel Publications, 2017).
 Matt Tebbe, “Engaging Through Asking: 5 Ways Jesus Asked Questions | The Telos Collective,” August 4, 2018, https://www.teloscollective.com/engaging-through-asking-5-ways-jesus-asked-questions/.
Published June 15, 2021