The Role of Directive Questions in Personal Evangelism

Her name was Claire. She plopped down in the only other seat next to me on the plane. Shane, across the isle and up one row, and I were traveling to Atlanta. Claire, thought I didn’t know her name at the time was very unhappy. She looked unhappy. With my evangelism buddy nearby, I decided to take a chance. “Hi, my name is Jimmy,” I said. “My name’s Caire,” she replied. It turned out she was ready to talk. She not only talked, she unloaded. I found out she as from Florida, so I asked, “Whatcha doing in Oklahoma City?” It turns out that she (20 years old) and her family were participating in the equestrian show at the State Fair Grounds. She was going home because she did something that her father did not like, so now he put her on the plane to go home. I thought, “What can I ask that will direct this conversation naturally into her interest or need and allow me to share the gospel with her?” More on Claire later.

Directive Questions are questions asked that will lead the conversation in a direction of your choosing. As I commented in another post, it is the person who is asking the questions that is in control of the conversation. Directive questions for personal evangelism come out of the current situation you are in and also a learned set of questions that are applied to that situation. For example, with Claire, I knew I would only have a short time to communicate with her. After we left the plane, I would more than likely never see her again. The situation dictated a very direct questions to find where she was spiritually.

The role of directive questions is important for several reasons.

1. Directive questions help you to control the flow of the conversation.

2. Directive questions let you know the comfort level the other person has with you.

3. Directive questions are progressive starting very general to very specific and personal.

4. Directive questions give you a conversational tool that will build confidence in your relational skills.

5. Directive questions show your interest in the other person. 

6. Directive questions allow you to build rapport quickly with another person to naturally share Christ.

7. Directive questions will help you to assess a person’s attitude toward spiritual things.

8. Directive questions will help you to assess a person’s understanding of the Gospel.

9. Directive questions will help you to assess a person’s response to spiritual dialogue.

I was able to find a lot about Claire in just a few minutes. In talking, she became more comfortable with me and even opened up about the problems she was having with her parents. Not really knowing much about me, she asked for advice concerning some of the decisions she was making. This allowed me to tell her my mistakes at making good decisions and how I have learned to do it in a better way. Of course, knowing God in a saving way was one of the requirements for making good decisions. It is always good to have your sins forgiven and God’s power in your life. She admitted she needed that and prayed right there on the plane to surrender her life to Christ.

On my next post, I’ll share with you more on the progresson of directive questions in personal evangelism


About Jimmy Kinnaird

Jimmy started his ministry on the streets of the French Quarter of New Orleans leading a jazz band as a tool to witness for Christ. He has also been a church staff member, church planter, pastor, and Church Outreach Team Leader for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Recently, Jimmy served as Personal Evangelism Resource Coordinator on the Personal Evangelism Team at the North American Mission Board, SBC. He is currently pastor of Village Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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