Bl. John Paul II once said that if we want to be evangelists, we must know two things. First, we must know Jesus Christ, and second, we must know the hearts and minds of modern men and women. We must know how they think and what they fear. We must know what motivates and inspires them, what discourages and degrades them. We must learn to see the world through their eyes, and only then we will be able to articulate the Gospel in a way that will resonate with their experience.
While we seek to know the hearts and minds of modern men and women in general, we don’t share the Gospel with an entire demographic, we share the Gospel with individuals who have unique experiences and fears and desires. If we want to share the Gospel in a way that will resonate with the particular experience of an individual human person, we must learn to see the world as they see it. We must learn their story so that we might articulate the Gospel in a way that speaks to the circumstances of their life.
How do we begin to learn these things about the people God places in our lives? We ask them! By asking intentional questions, we can begin to learn the truth about a person, about how they have been formed by their families, by their friends, and by their experiences to become the individual that now stands before us. By being interested in these things, not only do we show the person that we care for them, but we gain valuable information that will help us to find the point of intersection between his or her story and the story of Christ and his Church. The following intentional questions will help you to accomplish just that.
1. People invest time and energy into developing their careers, their bodies and relationships, but often neglect the spiritual dimension of their lives. How do you actively pursue spiritual growth?
2. Do you think much about spiritual things? (This usually leads to conversation about what "spiritual" means—i.e. religion vs. relationship).
3. How has this experience affected the way you look at God?
4. We've never had a chance to talk about your religious background. Where would you say you are in your spiritual pilgrimage?
5. I'd like to tell you how I established a personal relationship with God (Tell your personal testimony of how you became a Christian. Keep it to three minutes, using the following outline: Before—what characterized my life before I trusted Christ. During—how I came to trust Christ. After—how I am different now).
6. What is your concept of God? Do you view Him positively or negatively?
7. Have you ever come to a point in your life where you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, or do you think that is something you're still moving toward? May I share with you how I came to that point?
8. Do you find that faith and spiritual values play a role in your (work) (day) (marriage) (perspective on life)?
9. 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?
10. Bring a friend to your church or a Christian event, then ask:
What did you think of it? Did it make sense to you? Have you made the wonderful discovery of knowing God personally? You'd like to, wouldn't you?
11. Do you go to church? Why or why not?
12. I'd hate for you to come to my church and not understand what it's all about. Would you want to get together and discuss our basic beliefs?
13. We’ve been friends for quite some time now, and I’ve never really talked to you about the most important thing in my life. May I take a few moments and do so?
14. Is church something that has had an influence in your life? Are you at a point now that you want church to be a bigger part of your life? What prompted this? Would you want to hear our basic beliefs so you'll know if that fits in with what you're looking for?
15. How do you think someone becomes a Christian?
16. Can I share the thing I've found most important to me as a (dad), (mom), (boss)?
17. What do you think about when you go to sleep at night? (If anxiety or guilt rob them of sleep, introduce the peace found in a relationship with Christ).
18. Most people in America say they believe in God. What does believing in God mean to you?
19. Before I came to know Jesus personally, God was a vague concept that I could not relate to or grasp. How would you describe your view of God? Jesus? Is He a reality to you or more of a vague concept?
20. If you were to die tonight do you think you would go to heaven?
Adapted from Campus Crusade for Christ