A child peering through a telescope so big it obscures their face.

5 Intentional Questions That Start Spiritual Conversations

Are you curious?

Why curiosity is a part of God's character

Though He is all-knowing, this didn't stop Jesus from asking questions. In fact, he asked over three hundred!

Some of these were rhetorical and solely a part of rabbinical teaching (even today, Judaism emphasizes asking questions!), but Jesus used this convention to draw out the listener and enable them to reply honestly and from the heart.

"Who do you say that I am?" (Matt. 16:15)
"What do you want Me to do for you?" (Luke 18:41)
"Why are you so afraid?" (Matt. 8:26)
"Do you want to be healed?" (John 5:6)
"Do you love me?"(John 21:16)

Asking questions demonstrates care for people, and gives them a chance to share part of themselves with you.

Asking good questions enables you to connect with others in a deeper and more authentic way. It is a skill to learn to ask good questions, but it is so worth it to help others feel seen and known in love just as we are seen and known through the loving gaze of our God. 

The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

—Proverbs 20:5

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1. If you could change one thing about the world / society, what would it be and why?

This question hits a number of topics. You get to hear your friend's view of the world in how they answer the question. Are they pessimistic? Hopeful? What they answer says a lot about what's important to them. What do they want? What do they wish to be true of the world?

It also brings up the brokenness we see in the world. 

If they can't answer or find nothing to change, ask them why that is.

If they ask you the question back, which most people in polite conversation do, you have the opportunity to share what you believe about the brokenness you see and our need for a Savior. You don't have to get preachy—just be honest! 

2. Who is someone, or a few people, you admire (real or fictional) that you want to be like one day?

This is a question that let's people think about who they are becoming and the influential people or characters in their lives. Who is their ideal person? Who do they long to be like?

In the same way, answer honestly for yourself. Is Jesus one of those people? You can be real about that, as well as parents, siblings, characters from stories that you love. 

And then you both can be honest about how you are or aren't taking steps to be like that person. Maybe even make this a chance to have some accountability with each other.

Always look for follow-up questions or ways to revisit deeper topics like this!

3. What gives you life? What are some things that make you come alive? 

A question about joy! What brings this person joy?  With mental health issues being so rampant, a simple way to breathe in the life and healing nature of Christ is to simply invite someone into focusing on what makes them feel whole and alive and human. 

American majority culture glorifies work and invalidates rest and true experiences. This even gets into our Western church culture. When was the last time you heard a sermon on rest or spending time on things that weren't "productive" but simply allowed you to be who God made you to be?

Going on a walk, cooking a good meal, sitting and just listening to a record, doodling and drawing, a game night with friends.. these things aren't "productive" necessarily, but it is a valid need that we have! 

4. If time, resources, etc. weren't an issue, and you weren't afraid, what would you want to pursue in the next five years?

Allow yourselves to dream together! Who do they want to be? What would they want to pursue? This can tell you a lot about what they care about.Maybe it's also a time to encourage them to find ways to actually pursue that dream.

And for you too, what dreams has God put into your heart? Perhaps you have been told those things are "selfish," but what if God has given you gifts and experiences that will bless others if only you shared them. 

Do you or your friend have a talent for poems? Organizing events? Coaching? Doing hair and makeup? Taking photos? Then maybe it's time to ask God and others if you need to take the next step. Encourage each other to be all of who God has made you to be!

5. If you could talk to your teenage self, what advice would you give? 

It's good to reflect and look back, but few people give space for that these days. Sometimes because it's painful; sometimes because we're just too busy to slow down. But either way, experience changes you. So help people see and process those changes.

What have they learned over the years? What do they regret? What are they proud of?

If their change is for the better, encourage them and share how God has changed your life as well. Share in their joy!

If for the worse, speak hope and life to them. Gently frame their lives in light of the hope Christ offers. 

"Maybe you feel that way about your life, but this is what I believe God says to that."

This was originally meant to be a tool meant to help spark spiritual conversations with non-Christian friends, co-workers, etc., but they also can be asked of your fellow siblings in Christ! 

Take time and ask questions like Jesus. Because we all want to be known and loved.