The Handling of Questions

What is the best way to handle questions?

By W. MAUDSLEY, Evangelist, North England Conference

I would recommend making a special feature of the handling of questions in evangelistic services, advertising the plan on handbills and posters, and in newspaper notices, by stating: Written Questions Invited. When making announcements during the serv­ices, state that you will be pleased to receive any written questions, and that you will an­swer them to the best of your ability.

Concerning the best time for answering questions: If they are answered before the ser­mon, the service can be closed immediately after the address. Conducting the question service before the sermon also avoids bring­ing in other subjects than what you have been speaking upon. It will not, however, give the audience a chance to ask pointed questions on the evening's discourse.

If questions are answered at the close of the sermon, opportunity is provided for any who desire to ask a question on your lecture. This, especially if it raises a doubt, will give you a fine opportunity to restate your case.

Care should be taken to avoid diverting the mind from the evening's discourse, but the questions may reveal weaknesses in your pres­entation, and give you opportunity to correct them.

Previously prepared questions have value. They help to start the questions coming in, and also help to control the nature of the questions. The query arises, Are scraps of paper undignified, and should printed cards be supplied? Surely a uniform card would be preferable to a heterogenous collection of scraps of paper. And the printed card has several advantages.

I believe the spontaneous answer is the best way of handling questions. Wherever pos­sible, answer by a text. Avoid giving a ser­mon in place of a simple answer, and also eliminate sermon questions. Be wary to ascer­tain just what the question really means. Further suggestions on using the question-and­answer method follow :

1. They make people think Scripturally, and may be used to direct their minds to the comprehensive­ness of the Bible, and to establish confidence in Scripture.

2. Answering questions often proves helpful in re­emphasizing the evening's talk, and also in advertis­ing the next week's address.

3. When queries form a part of a future sermon, keep these and refer to them or read them at the time of that particular address,

4. Where the circumstances make it desirable, the evangelist may read the questions while the last hymn is being sung, and then answer them immedi­ately. However, young preachers should be careful about answering questions the same night as the lecture.

5. Should there be more than twenty questions, the undesirable ones may be eliminated by an an­nouncement somewhat like this: "There are a num­ber of other questions, but those already answered will suffice for tonight."

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By W. MAUDSLEY, Evangelist, North England Conference

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