Before I share the gospel, I always find out where people are on their spiritual journey and specifically, if they are open to Christ.
However, if I ask them, “Where are you on your spiritual journey?” they usually don’t know how to answer that question and that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Here are three questions I have found helpful for discovering if they are open to God.
1) When I think of you, how do you want me to pray for you?
This is my favorite question, which can come up easily in many conversations. It is a very affirming question. It tells a person that I do think about him and that I would be willing to invest into his life by praying for him, and I am inviting him to let me know how he wants me to pray for him.
If people are not sure how to answer that question, I say, “What is the greatest point of stress in your life?” Then they know exactly what to share.
That question usually opens the door to the significant things going on in their lives and it allows me to relate to them on a spiritual level regarding things that really matter to them personally.
2) When people share the hard things they are going through, things over which they have little or no control, things that create fear and anxiety, a second question I often ask is. . .
“I am really sorry to hear that. Do you pray?”
They may say, “a lot more now,” or “not as much as I should.” Either way, their answer gives me some insight into their responsiveness to God.
Also, now I am talking about prayer in the context of things in their lives that create anxiety, and that provides an easy transition into sharing about God’s desire to help them if they turn to him.
3) What is your church background? is a common questions I often ask.
I don’t ask “do you go to church or which church do you go to?” That could make them feel uncomfortable. I ask about their church background, about their history, their upbringing, what their parents did. It is not invasive. Then, as they share, I draw them out to learn how things have progressed to where they are today on their spiritual journey.
So, before you attempt to share the gospel with someone, ask questions to find out where they are on their spiritually journey.
If they are in the Red Zone, open to God, share the gospel with them and seek to help them cross the line of faith.
And if they are not in the Red Zone, then don’t be pushy. Always honor the person and where he is in his journey. Seek to be a positive influence on them for Christ, and keep the relationship warm for the next time you are together.