Tactics and Tools

What Are Some Good Ways to Start Spiritual Conversations?

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Author Greg Koukl Published on 04/08/2020

The following was originally published here as part of a Q&A with Greg Koukl on RZIM Connect.

Question from Theja: Can you kindly tell us some good starting/bridging points or tactics that leads to the gospel or points towards it in our conversations? Any good conversation starters in your experience throughout the years.

Sure, Theja, and thanks for the question. In the book Tactics, I chart a game plan that is easy to follow to help Christians initiate conversations in a comfortable, safe, and productive way. The key to the game plan is using friendly questions to draw the other person out, to get some sense of their views, and to understand their reasons for the views they hold.

I realize I haven’t said anything about getting to the gospel with this technique. That’s because I’ve discovered it’s much easier to navigate in conversations with people using questions, then watch carefully for an opportunity to move towards the gospel when an opening presents itself. This is a less aggressive approach than some people take, but I’ve found it to be not only the most effective when talking with others, but it’s also the easiest to employ for Christians who are a little more on the timid, or bashful, or shy side.

If you want a question that will take you immediately into a spiritual conversation, here is the one I suggest: What do you think happens when you die? You might lead into the question by first asking if the person you’re talking to would be willing to share their opinion about something you’re curious about. Then tell them it’s an issue you’ve been thinking about and you’re interested in other people’s point of view. Then you can ask the question.

Listen to them carefully, and if there are any ambiguities in their answer, ask more clarification questions. Finally, once you understand their view, ask them why they think this is what happens after they die. Now you’re looking for their reasons for their view, if they have any.

I find that asking questions like this allows me to be much more relaxed and allows the other person to be more relaxed, too. I’ve also seen some pretty surprising results in the process. It’s amazing what the Holy Spirit will do with this approach.