We have been chatting recently about spending time with those who are spiritually disconnected. And, how to have the same heart for the lost that Jesus had. In the process we saw that we don’t need to know the answers to all the questions that we will be asked as we engage in conversations with the spiritually disconnected. Today, let’s look at some of the questions that we could ask a non-believer as we speak with them informally…
As you watch the Holy Spirit open doors for spiritual conversations, you can feel free to ask some questions that might spark meaningful interaction. Don’t be afraid to ask good questions and really listen to people’s answers. The point of a well-asked question is not to set you up to unload your spiritual wisdom on others, but to create space for meaningful discussion. Of course, If the door opens to share your story of faith or the gospel message, then wonderful! Walk through that door. But you can have a meaningful spiritual conversation without having to close it with a gospel presentation.
Here are some questions that could move your conversation with non-believers to deeper levels of spiritual interaction:
- What are some joys you are experiencing in this season of your life?
Most people would love to share about the good things in their lives, but they are afraid that others won’t care. Just by asking and listening, you open the door for great interaction. Also, if there are clear signs that God is blessing their life, you could open the door for conversation about the source of all good things.
- What challenges and struggles are you facing?
People will share their pains and hurts with someone who really cares about them and takes the time to listen. As they share, you may find that it becomes an opportunity to minister the grace of Jesus. Sharing struggles can also create space for you to pray for or with them.
- What is your personal history when it come to faith and God?
This question is not so much about what people believe as it is about their personal histories. A person might say, “I have no history when it comes to religion,” or “I grew up going to Mass every week and my parents are quite devout,” or “I have always been very spiritual and I still read my horoscope daily and do a lot of meditation.” No matter what answer they give, you end up learning something about their journey that may allow you to move the conversation to a deeper level.
- What do you believe about God?
With this question, we move into more personal convictions and beliefs. Again, no matter how they answer, remember that you are learning and already going deeper than a typical conversation. Some Christians feel pressured to correct “wrong thinking” or “errant theology” in their conversation with non-believers. Try not to do this. Just listen and learn where they are coming from; then you’ll gain a sense of where they still need to go on their journey toward Jesus.
- What if your perception of Christians?
Or put another way, “What is your perception of Christianity or of the Christian church?” It takes courage to ask this question, listen, and not get defensive. But I have found that it can be an open door to deeper conversation.
When it comes to asking good questions, the key is to keep them open-ended. Create space to talk. Don’t become defensive and tell people where they are wrong. Just listen, learn, hear their hearts, and get a sense of where they are in their spiritual journeys. Even an angry atheist is on a journey. They are just very far from God. By listening to their perspective, you can learn how to pray, reach out, and walk with them toward the Saviour.