Last Fall our Student LINC and Coaching Center teams read the book, I Once Was Lost by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. Subtitled, “What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus”, it helped us understand some of the issues everyone must wrestle with as they come to faith.
Everts and Schaupp list five thresholds that someone must cross before they place their faith in Jesus Christ. They are:
- Trusting a Christian. Moving from distrust to trust.
- Becoming curious. Moving from complacent to curious.
- Opening Up to Change. Moving from being closed to change to openness.
- Seeking After God. Moving from meandering to seeking.
- And Entering the Kingdom. Actually crossing into the Kingdom itself.
Each threshold has specific faith issues non-believer must have satisfied and there are ways for us as believers to come alongside them in their journey.
I have written on this topic before when my friend Kevin Kneeshaw shared thoughts about that first threshold. He suggested several ways we can build trust with the non-believer. This time I want to focus on “becoming curious.”
There are things we can do to actually provoke curiousity. One significant way is to encourage questions. Jesus asked questions not to get information but to stir within others thought or emotion. The writers noted research by friend of theirs,
“Jesus is asked 183 questions in the Gospels. He answers just 3 of them—but asks 307 questions back…Jesus does not have Q and A sessions. He has Q and Q sessions.”
“Sometimes when someone asks us a question, an answer is the last thing they need. Instead, they need someone to stoke the fire of curiousity in their soul…We live in an age of too much information, too few good questions. Let’s be the ones to ask the great questions. Spark curiousity whereever you go, Lets ask intriguing questions that help our friends think about life from angles they have never considered. ”
Sometimes we actually douse curiosity. The authors write.
“We need to give people what they ask for instead of pouring out everything we know about God the first time they display…curiosity. If they have a thimbleful of curiosity, we could actually douse that small curiosity be answering their small, limited questions with a hundered and one apologetic answers…Try not to dump five gallons of answers on a six ounce question. Try to assess your friend’s curiosity and respond in kind. This approach is much more likely to result in the growth of their curiousity over time.”
I like this. Looking back on my own faith journey, I considered myself an atheist in high school. My closest friend were Christians. I had serious obstacles to overcome. There were things that my friends did to cause me to become more curious about Christianity, as well as eventually becoming open to change and being willing to seek God. That was a four year process for me.
Part of provoking curiosity is in asking good questions. Here are some Questions Leading into Spiritual Conversations. It is worth it for us to learn what is involved in helping our non-believing friends cross these successive thresholds.