Talking to non-believers about our faith can be intimidating. But there are ways to effectively engage in spiritual conversations with skeptics and seekers alike.
Randy Newman teaches us how to engage in spiritual conversations by asking questions rather than telling people what to think, or trying to share a memorized formula.
“It’s certainly not a formula and it’s certainly not simple, but it can be practiced on a simple level: How do you know that? What do you mean by that? Can you explain that to me? Those are just some simple questions we can remember.”
Randy refers to a book by Greg Koukl called Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions.
“In the book, Greg talks about the value of questions like, ‘What do you mean by that? How did you come to believe that?’”
“I think for a lot of people if they can just change the mindset. Instead of, I have to be the source of all answers, instead we say, maybe I can ask some questions to get things moving back and forth. The more people just try it out, the more fluent they’ll become in that process of asking questions.”
Randy suggests a few more questions that will provide insight into where the other person is coming from and possibly lead them closer to Christ.
“Sometimes people will say things and you can ask the question, ‘what do you mean by that? Why are you saying that?’”
“I really do like a whole series of questions that flow out of, ‘Well isn’t it possible?’ For example, people will say something and rather than saying, ‘No that’s wrong! You’re wrong. Let me tell you the right answer!’ Instead we can say, ‘That’s one way to think, but isn’t it possible that…?’ And then you try to show people an alternative view. If we can ask, ‘Well isn’t it possible?’ I think it’s helping people to move gradually to the truth.”
We can follow Jesus’ example by asking important questions that reach the hearts of people who have yet to receive the good news of the gospel.
Randy Newman is the Senior Fellow for Evangelism and Apologetics at The C. S. Lewis Institute in the Washington, DC area. After serving for over 30 years with Campus Crusade for Christ, he established Connection Points, a ministry to help Christians engage people’s hearts the way Jesus did. He is author of several books including Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People's Hearts the Way Jesus Did.Evangelism 101: The benefit of asking questions