This video by Greg Koukl offers some guidance for starting important conversations. He proposes that we ask people variations of the question “What do you mean by that?” to gather information about those we are communicating with. These questions, Greg says, will help us understand the views of the other person, thus enabling us to more effectively gear the rest of the conversation in the right direction.
As daunting as starting conversations about religion may seem, using questions to lead the way keeps us out of the hot seat. People generally appreciate when others take an interest in them, so we can use our genuine curiosity about them to keep the focus off of ourselves.
We should really start conversations about faith in the same way we start conversations about everything else: listening intently and asking good questions. It’s easy to overcomplicate these conversations in our heads. Remembering to take a genuine interest in the other person’s views is crucial to the start of any good conversation, regardless of whether or not it’s about religious convictions.
“The first step of the game-plan is to simply gather information. You cannot know how to proceed effectively in a conversation unless you have basic information.”