why run a questions for life event for my friends and colleagues, and how?
watch a quick video here
what will it involve?
These 'dialogue' events or 'discussion' events are simple but effective.
You might run one for your team, or your office, or simply for a small group of people who know each other already. You can run it when and where best suits the people you want to invite, e.g. at breakfast, at lunch, or after work; it can happen in an office meeting room, or in a pub, or a coffee shop. Jesus' message will be clearly presented and there is plenty of time for questions and discussion for those who come. You may also wish to weave in a short 'testimony' from yourself or another Christian.
These events are particularly effective for the following reasons:
They are a great way to reach people who have little or no Christian background, and also people who have lots of objections and bad experiences of formal religion
They are relaxed, flexible and informal, tailored to your friends and colleagues
They happen on 'home turf' - not in a 'religious' setting. You are not communicating "come to my event, or my club", but "I'm putting this on for you, so you can find out more and ask whatever questions you'd like".
Your guests feel more relaxed because they know the event is for them and they know the other guests
It can cover a topic that the participant really want addressing, or at least gives them plenty of opportunity to air their bugbears, ask questions, etc.
You can lay on the breakfast, lunch or dinner that they want!
When an individual or group of Christians put on an event like this, it makes it clear to those around them - even those who don't come to the event - that they are interested in them and that they want to speak to them and answer questions about Christ
It's a great way to encourage Christians to pray and work together
They are easy to organise
They are a great way to help you know how to best follow-up and serve those around you
They work equally well whether you have a small number of guests or a larger group
how can i invite people?
How about asking a few people these questions, or similar:
What is your biggest objection
If I were to organise a simple lunch where someone addressed that issue and took questions, would you be willing to come?
I'd love to give you the opportunity to find out more about Jesus Christ and his claims; what would work for you?
what makes a good dialogue talk/presentation?
No jargon and points people clearly to Jesus in the Bible
Short, simple and engaging, leaving people with one big idea – doesn’t try to cover everything
Punchy, provocative without being prickly
Tees up dialogue and questions – lots of hooks in the talk for further questions/ conversations, and ways that people can carry on investigating (121s, lunchtime talks, Christianity Explored)
Personal – shows people that Christians have engaged with the same questions they have
Punctual, with lots of time for questions and discussion
what you might consider when organising & Inviting
Pray and think about who you’d like to invite
You might want to include someone who can give a short testimony: alongside or as part of the talk
Ask some of those you’ll invite what they would like covered
Choose a title in discussion with the speaker
If you’re organising with others, why not delegate some of the jobs and clearly explain to others how they can invite
It’s not essential, but you may want to put together an invite/publicity depending on the scale of the event: posters, intranet, email, etc. BUT PERSONAL INVITES ARE BEST.
Choose a venue – in a meeting room, pub, restaurant, etc and food and drink
Ensure those invited know what they’re coming to – they’re not surprised that there’s a talk
Think about resources you want available, and for people to take away- Gospels/Bible passage/book tract
You may want to use question slips and give people a dedicated minute or two after the talk to think up a question in 2s and 3s. Or you could just have a free-for-all.
Think about how you want to follow up the event, so there is a clear way that people can investigate further if they want: another dialogue, a Christianity Explored course, coming to lunchtime talks, 121s, etc.
dialogue event checklist
Organisation? Myself / with others (Who?____________________)
Venue? in office / offsite (Where? ____________________)
Speaker & Topic? ______________________________________________
Talk length? 0-7min / 7-12min / 15min
Testimony as well as talk? Yes / No
Question Time length?
Invite to whom? widely / just a select group