You Gotta Ask

May 20th, 2021 | Evangelism
You Gotta Ask

Excerpted from Chapter One of “You Gotta Ask” by Jon and Pam Strain

Usually the phrase “Hey guys, watch this!” precedes a dude doing something stupid. Another version is, “Hold my beer.” These phrases get our attention because we want to witness the spectacle.

I was with eight men at a coffee house, concluding an early morning discussion, when the server walked toward us with the check. I said, “Hey guys, watch this!” They quieted down.

“Sam,” I said to the server, “You’ve overheard us talking about God and life questions. I’d like to hear your brief reaction to an interesting question. I’m not looking for a correct answer, but just your answer.”

“Okay,” she replied.

“Assume there is a God for this question. And you have the opportunity to ask any question you want or take God to task on any issue. What would your question or subject be? No need to get into it, just give us the question or subject.”

“Whoa!” Her eyes darted to where the ceiling and wall met in front of her. She paused. “Why?”

The men were taken aback by the intensity of her question, which seemed to have come from the depth of her soul.

“Why what?”

“Why am I here? What is the point of it all?” she asked.

All eight men watched with astonished saucer-sized eyes as she elaborated. As Sam concluded, I said, “Thank you. Yours is a very important question.” My intention was simply to listen and affirm her for taking the risk to answer.

As soon as she departed, the men reacted.

“Did you set that up?”

“I can’t believe you just did that and she just said that!”

“Why did you do this?”

“That was so simple! I could do that!”

I explained to them, “For several years I’ve used this question with seekers and skeptics. It’s compelling and always evokes a response.”

Most people are privately wondering about significant God questions. The opportunity to voice them and be listened to without judgment is very rare. Learning how people are experiencing God informs us how to invite them to take the next step.

Compelling questions are open-ended, unbiased, and reveal what we long for.

Compelling (adj): evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.

Compelling questions grab your interest and stick with you. They’re irresistible. People want to answer them.

So what is the Platinum Question?

Assuming there is a God, and you could ask
God anything, what would you ask?

How would you answer this question yourself? Take a moment to think and write down your first thought—just a simple question or even a single-word subject. There is no right or wrong answer.


What question do you think most people would ask?


What would your spouse, best friend, children, or roommate ask?


The reason this question is so effective is that it’s nonthreatening and compelling. People want to answer it. It’s phrased in an open-ended and judgment-free way, allowing them to respond genuinely. It’s a valuable tool for witnesses of Christ because it’s simple and memorable, and the set-up and follow-up are easy. Simply ask and listen, and you can circle back later when the person has had some time to think about it.

It also gives us the opportunity to learn about the person we’re asking so that we can spark an interesting discussion. This question exposes how a person is experiencing God and their barriers to faith. In the following chapters, we’ll cover five follow-up questions. But even if you don’t have the opportunity to ask the follow-up questions, this question alone will stick in someone’s mind and get them thinking.


Put this book down and text someone the question. Practice asking. Cast your line into the water.

“Fortune favors the bold.” —Virgil, the poet

Here is a script you can speak into the text box if you’re not sure what to say:

“Hey! I’m reading a book and found this compelling question. How would you answer it? I’ll share mine after you share yours. Deal? ‘Assuming there is a God, and you could ask God anything, what would
you ask?’”

When you get a response, would you share the questions you get by text or email with me? I’m keeping a
tally to write a guide exploring the most asked questions. Text me at (208) 440-6645 or email

… Practice by texting someone the question
… Email or text Jon about the response you received
 That was easy

Note from Bob: You do not want to miss Jon and Pam’s five follow-up questions.  Click HERE to purchase “You Gotta Ask” today 

Jon and Pam Strain


Jon Strain is the Executive Director for You Gotta Ask, Inc. He has generated “mission startups” including a Christian campus ministry at BYU in Provo, Utah; a church plant (Riverside Community Church) in Meridian, Idaho; and Search Ministries (national), in Boise. The theme has always been relational evangelism, discipleship, and relational apologetics.

Pam Strain the Women’s Director of You Gotta Ask, Inc., serves in a mentoring role with women throughout the Treasure Valley. She co-founded LIFT, which exists to create impactful, relational events and gatherings that welcome all women and encourage them to live inspired, fearless, and thriving lives.


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