Questions to Go Deeper with Our Children or Seekers

People collect many things: stamps, cars, tree ornaments. I like to collect questions. Whenever I find good questions I try and write them down so that I can use them in the appropriate situation.

I came across and old article in Leadership Magazine by Judson Poling in which he argues for answering questions of a seeker (or at least the initial question) with a question. That second question can reveal what is hidden and often what motivates the question. Often what we need to do is get to the heart of the questioner before we give an answer.

These questions below will help the person you are talking with think more deeply.  I think several of these are excellent questions for conversing with our older children as […]

Filling a Bucket and Lighting it on Fire

A recent article is entitled Evangelize Don’t Indoctrinate. In it, the author helpfully distinguishes between the need to preach for conversion of the soul and mere indoctrination. However, I think the post goes a little too far on some areas.  I believe the author creates a false dichotomy. My response is an excerpt of my booklet, The Power of the Word.

The Right Goal – Wise Unto Salvation

But exactly why are we to teach our children the Scriptures? Many children have grown up in a graceless home, knowing the Scriptures and chafing under the way their pastors and parents handled them. Lois and Eunice, on the other hand, had taught Timothy their Scriptures, our Old Testament, so well that when presented with the claims of Jesus […]

End of the World Coming? – An Evangelistic Opportunity

I recently sent this out to my church. I thought the wording might be helpful to you.

End of the world? Unfortunately, the supposed end of the world is making the news. If you haven’t heard, it is coming May 21st!!   Check out the article here for more info. This, of course, is false teaching as no one knows the day or the time.

However this might also present an opportunity if this topic comes up at work. Simply say something like, “Yes its amazing how far some people can get from the teachings of Jesus. Jesus himself said no one knows the hour or day. But the Bible does teach he is coming back. What about you? What are your beliefs? If he came back today […]

One Evangelistic Question That Will Open a Person’s Heart

Step 3 in Evangelism for the Tongue-Tied is asking good questions that open up the conversation with an unbeliever. I saw Os Guiness at a conference several years ago. In his talk he made several points:

1. Most of our communication lacks persuasion.

2. We assume an enormous amount of interest.  We assume they are open, interested, and needy. The truth is many people are closed, uninterested, and unneedy.

So how do we communicate with those who might be closed and uninterested? Os encouraged asking questions as a indirect, involving, and subversive way to communicate with an unbeliever. He suggested the following as  an excellent question:
Have you ever had a moment when you just knew there was a God? Tell me about it.
That ought to get a person talking. Then we […]


How to Host an Evangelistic Christmas Cookie Swap

I asked a good friend to answer a few questions about an Evangelistic Cookie Swap. – While here, don’t forget to check out Evangelism for the Tongue-Tied to help you talk about Jesus, the reason we celebrate.

What is a Cookie Swap?
An evangelistic cookie swap is a Christmas party in your home. It is an ideal way to reach out to the women in your neighborhood, women you work with, or other female contacts in the community (hairdresser? grocery store clerk? librarian?). The goal is to set up a comfortable and festive social event involving the exchange of holiday cookies. This setting allows for a simple reading of the Christmas story, a testimony of salvation, a reading of a gospel-centered Christmas story, or some other means of sharing the good […]


How Being Saved by Grace Frees Us to Share

From  BTW

Tim Keller, Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything, p. 201 (my italics):

The gospel produces a constellation of traits in us:

We are compelled to share the gospel out of love.
We are freed from the fear of being ridiculed or hurt by others, since we already have the favor of God by grace.
There is a humility in our dealings with others, because we know we are saved only by grace, not because of our superior insight or character.
We are hopeful about anyone, even the “hard cases,” because we were saved only because of grace ourselves.
We are courteous and careful with people. We don’t have to push or coerce them, for it is God’s grace that opens hearts, not our eloquence or persistence or even their openness.


Lame Evangelism

Great article on the lame attempts that some have made that have yielded fruit. Articles like these encourage me that God is the one that saves! Be encouraged at your feeble efforts!


Remember their Names

For Heaven’s Sake – Remember Their Names

My son is playing Little League baseball. As I watch him practice and play, might God also have another purpose for me? Might there be some divine appointments with these other parents? Maybe. So how do I go about building relationships week to week?

Step 1 – Remember their names! As I have said before, every hint I pass on, I have learned by failing. This is no different. The first week I went to practice I spent a long time talking with another father. But at the end… I could not remember his name.

No problem, I thought, the coach gave me roster with every child’s name and every parent’s name. No problem except… I misplaced the piece of paper […]


How to Hold a Free Yard Sale

How can we practice servant evangelism and engage people in talking about the gospel? How about a free yard sale?

What is a Free Yard Sale?
A free yard sale is an easy, high grace event designed to highlight the gospel of Jesus Christ and his grace to us. Specifically, a group sets up typical yard sale items (toys, books, clothes, wall hangings, etc.) in a high traffic area and offers them for free to the public. In addition, soft drinks, music, animal balloons and other fun items can be given away.

How many people does it take?
It actually takes very few people to host the event itself. Just enough to wander among the people. The event is scalable, meaning one or two families could put it on […]


The Columbo Tactic by Greg Koukle


Using simple, leading questions is an almost effortless way to introduce spiritual topics to a conversation without seeming abrupt.  At STR we call this the “Columbo” tactic, named after the bumbling and seemingly inept TV detective whose remarkable success was based on an innocent query: “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”

“Columbo” is most powerful if you have a game plan for the conversation.  Generally when I ask a question I have a goal in mind.  I’m alerted to some weakness, flaw, or contradiction in another’s view that I want to expose in a disarming way.

Other times the question is an open-ended “What do you mean by that?” delivered in a mild, genuinely inquisitive fashion.  The general topic can be anything broadly […]