How to Use Directive Questions in Personal Evangelism, Pt 2

As I wrote in my August 28, 2007 post, the having a plan for your conversation with others will help you to ask directive questions that will move the subject matter from the general to the spiritual. I use the acrostic: F.I.R.E. as a guide to help me. The “F” in FIRE is for Friend. I am trying to make a friend. I am indebted to Alan Quigley for the friend concept. This line of directive questioning is taken when you have not met the person before or you have just a general knowlege about them (see the August 28th post for more on “F”). The “I” question in FIRE is the Important question. I say, “Tell me, what is the most important thing that has ever happened to you?”

This question: “What is the most important thing that has ever happened to you?” is a great question. It is a value question. I have asked this question to hundreds of people in all walks of life from many parts of the world. Most people are taken back for a moment and will respond with something like, “That’s a very good question!” The number one response most people give is “the birth of my children.” I usually say, “Well, that is certainly one of the most important things that has happened to me. It really changes your life.” Then I ask a followup question, “What made having kids the most important thing that has ever happened to you?” This kind of questioning gets to the very heart and soul of a person faster than any other way I have yet to experience.

I’ve been given lots of other answers also, such as getting an education, or accepting Christ as Savior, or getting married or getting sober. This “I” question is not necessarily a spiritual question unless you are a spiritual person. It is a value question. It is a thermometer reading on a person’s life direction and influences.

Why not try asking this question to some people today? Just start a conversation with someone. Begin to make a friend then say, “I’m curious, what is the most important thing that has ever happened to you?” See where it takes you. No pressure on the witnessing here. You are discovering the heart of your new friend. You are getting into their life. They may ask you, “What is the most important thing that has ever happened to you?” I’ve had that happen a time or two. Don’t tell them yet. Say, “I’ll tell you in a moment. I would like to know yours first.

Let me know what happens.


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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