And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 2 Timothy 2:24
Do not know where to start? Then ask questions! There is a classic American party and board game that is fun and addictive. It is great for entertaining groups, and is used in Youth Ministry and Children's programs. This simple little pastime is called "Twenty Questions." Basically, it is played by thinking of an object such as a vase on a table in the room, usually in 3 categories-animal, vegetable, or mineral. The participants have 20 questions in which to try to determine what that object is. By the way, this is also a hermetical technique to examine and conduct literary analysis. We can do a similar method to share Christ!
Why are questions a great way to share Christ? Because, just about everyone has an opinion and most people like to give it. So, let them. In addition, most people do not have an outlet outside of work to engage in dialogues and rarely have opportunities to discuss spiritual things. Thus, most conversations center around and about work, leaving little outside of superficial things, sports, and fashion to talk about. Therefore, you have an opportunity to fill a great need, that of allowing people to be heard. Your key to success is your ability to listen without judgment or condescension.
People invest a lot of time and energy into developing their careers. One of the first questions we ask someone who is new to us is, "what do you do for a living?" It tends to be our identification and purpose for many people. Many people have co-workers as their primary and sometimes only group of relationships, and often neglect the spiritual dimension of their lives. There is no other opportunity for conversation; so, many people will be open to be engaged in dialogue as long as it is done with care. They want to talk about things outside of work and superficiality. Let them share their hurts, concerns, and opinions no matter how weird or severe they may be; for them, they are real. Listen and encourage. People need encouragement, not condemnation. Do not pry into their personal affairs; let them divulge that to you at their own pace and time. The key to making this succeed is your willingness to listen. Be a listener! Take advantage of this opportunity.
Consider how our Lord dealt with an outcast woman in a culture with which He was not supposed to interact. He listened, treated her with respect, asked questions, and challenged her in love without condemnation. If there is any template in Scripture on how to witness, this is it (John 4: 4-26). The model Jesus gives us is simple. Be encouraging, non-confrontational, loving, kind, and gentle. Do not manipulate, bully or compel others by the force of your personality.
Here are basic discussion starter questions to help you open doors in sharing your faith to others. These questions were carefully designed not to be offensive; however, there are always people who are offended by religious things; so, in that case, just smile and move on. Do not just ask them blunt questions such as, "why are you not a Christian?" Or "Do you believe in God? Why not?" And of course "burn sinner burn" has had no viable results to it, either. These are offensive and put the person in a defensive position. You cannot win a person who is defensive; you want them rather to be curious and interested. These questions are designed to be the key transitions that can turn a conversation to spiritual things. I collected them when I was on staff with Young Life and Campus Crusade many years ago, and have modified them. Also, many other evangelical organizations I have worked with have similar questions that I modified and added. I claim no originality for them. These questions are designed to help people think about spiritual things, open up questions, and give you opportunity to answer them with God's Word. Obviously you would not use all of these questions. Pick one or two to share and if they are hungry, ask more, but do not overwhelm them with a machinegun-like barrage of questions. Again, the key is to listen; do not be in a hurry. Rather, wait until they are finished so you can ask them another question. Make sure you try your best to answer their questions first. Be concerned and caring!
Feeling fearful? It is OK. Here are some verses for your comfort: Isaiah 55:11; John 6:44; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 2:3-4; Philemon 6. Remember, our success is not measured in winning someone to the Lord; rather, it is our obedience and willingness to tell them, whether they receive Him or not. There is never failure in obedience and faith.
Open with: "May I share with you something that is very important to me? We have been friends for quite some time now, and I have never really talked to you about the most important thing in my life. May I take a few moments and do so? I promise I will not belittle you, and I want to really hear what you think."
1. Do you ever think about spiritual things?
2. Most people say they believe in a God. What does believing in God mean to you?
3. Where would you say you are in your spiritual pilgrimage?
4. What do you do to pursue your spiritual growth, such as, go to church?
5. What is your concept of God? Do you view Him positively or negatively? Why?
6. Do you go to church now? Why, or why not?
7. Did you grow up in a church? Why did you leave?
8. How has your previous church experience affected the way you look at God?
9. Is church something that has influenced your life?
10. Have you ever considered that faith and spiritual values play a critical role in your perspective on life, how you make decisions, develop character, and your attitude and hope in your daily life at work, with friends, and in marriage? What do you think?
11. What would your life look like if you had more spiritual empowerment?
12. Do you struggle with fears and anxiety? What do you think about when you go to sleep at night? Do you have trouble sleeping? Has anxiety or guilt robbed you of relationships and opportunities? May I tell you how I found the ultimate peace in a relationship with Jesus Christ?
13. What do you think of Christians? How do you think someone becomes a Christian?
14. Before I came to know Christ personally, I felt that God was like (insert how you felt such as, a bad parent….a vague concept….did not exist…. I could not relate to…He seemed to not care about me… ). This is how I feel now….. What do you think?
15. How would you describe your view of Jesus?
16. Do you think a heaven or a hell really exists?
17. Have you ever come to a point in your life where you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord? How so? Why not? Do you think that Jesus is Someone you would like to hear more about? May I share with you how I came to that point?
18. If you could be sure there is a God, would you want to know Him? Or if you could know God personally, would you want to? What would you ask Him?
19. If what you believe in were not true, would you want to know?
20. And of course the classic, If you were to die tonight, are you sure that you would go to heaven? If so, why? Has anyone ever explained how you can know for sure?
Remember, you may only need one or two questions. Do not "shotgun" them with lots of questions, these are tools not weapons. Get to know the person first, and then pray for them. Then determine which one(s) to use. After the person has shown interest, you can transition them to your testimony, "I would like to tell you how and why I became a Christian." Then, give your personal testimony of how you became a Christian.© 2006, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org