Reply to Email Questions
You just received a student's email - now what?
1. Read the email question two or three times - make sure you really understand exactly what they are asking.
2. Pray - ask God how to respond.
3. Use Scripture in your answer whenever you can, and point them to Christ.
4. Keep your goal that of leading them toward a relationship with Jesus. Remember, you do not have to solve all of their problems.
5. If there is an article on your www.everystudent.com site or on www.StartingwithGod.com that could help answer the question, put a hyperlink in your response. (It helps to become familiar with your sites.)
6. Remember, you are not just answering an email, you are replying to a person. Write your emails just like you would if you were face-to-face with a friend. Be respectful, responsive, polite, and helpful.
We have found these articles frequently useful to offer:
- God's existence: Is There a God?
- Jesus' deity: Beyond Blind Faith
- Four Laws (gospel): Knowing God Personally
- Why there's suffering: Why
- What God offers those who are suffering: Where is God in...Tragedy?
- Life issues/struggles in relationships: Life Issues
- Does God answer prayer: Does God Answer Our Prayers?
Please be aware of these email series that could be most helpful to offer:
Spiritual Adventure Pack – for atheists/agnostics (on EveryStudent.com)
Gospel of John – for nonbelievers or believers; helps someone know Jesus. (on EveryStudent.com and StartingwithGod.com)
Spiritual Starter Kit – for new believers; assurance of salvation, God’s unconditional love, why he won’t leave them, what to do with sin, importance of fellowship (on StartingwithGod.com)
Skip the Stress – for new or struggling believers; the Spirit-filled life, living under God’s grace, how to trust God (on StartingwithGod.com)
How to Talk about God – for believers who want to reach others; various ways to explain Jesus to others; various approaches. (on StartingwithGod.com)
The Findables – for believers wanting to help make Jesus “findable” to millions of others. (on StartingwithGod.com)
Examples for you
Here are six common questions, and how you could answer them:
You guys are idiots. I can't believe you're trying to deceive students with this stuff. Wake up and realize life is up to you, not to some hoped-for creation of "god."
Thanks for your email. No one is trying to deceive anyone. I understand that it can be irritating to hear someone confidently state that God exists and, beyond that, that he can be known on a personal basis. I have found him true to his word when Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
You might think that those who believe in God do so without serious thought or merely out of emotional need. However, there are intelligent, objective reasons to conclude that God does exist. Here are a few:
[comment: This is what you might say if you were having a conversation with them in person. Show them respect for their opinion, and lead them to some evidence.]
I want to believe in God, but I don't know how to have faith. I also wonder about all the religions in the world, and how a person knows which one is right?
You're wise to want a relationship with God. He created us to know him, to go through this life depending on him, relating to him. God assures us, "'You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you,' declares the Lord." (Jer 29:13)
It seems clear to me that God wants us to have reasons to believe in him. He's not wanting us to just believe in him mindlessly. In fact, he wants us to love him with all of our heart, mind, and soul.
Here are two articles on our site that I'd like to recommend to you. This first one explains how we can know that God exists:
And this one gives a great summary about Jesus' life and what he said he offers us:
If you feel the need to understand other world religions, then I recommend this article, which again gives a good summary:
I'd be happy to try to answer other questions of yours that might arise. In your desire to know God, I don't think it's an accident that you came to our site. God wants you to know him. Please email me back and let me what you think of the article that you read.
[Comment: You can be brief, and use these articles to say what could take hours for you to write. They just need a person who cares about them and would be willing to help them know God.]
I think my boyfriend is cheating on me. Should I overlook it or what?
I think you'd find the following article really helpful in how best to approach relationships: https://everystudent.com/features/search.html Have you personally ever thought about God's love for you? Has anyone ever told you how you could experience his love in a personal way?
[Comment: Not only does this article have great insight, but it includes the gospel. By asking her a question, you are giving her reason to write back to you.]
I need God. Everything in my life is going wrong. I don't know what to do.
I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling with things. Life can be very tough. And God never intended that we should deal with it without him. He wants you to know his care for you and his ability to guide you in decisions. Here is an article that explains what God offers us in the midst of difficult times:
I think that article might help. Would you be willing to tell me what's happening in your life right now?
[Comment: Avoid the temptation to begin counseling the person. We are here to lead them toward Christ, yet with compassion, as you would relate to any person. By asking questions, you might be able to understand better what they need to hear.]
I have accepted Jesus in my life. What do I do next and how do I do it?
That is GREAT to hear that you have received Christ! That is a decision you will never regret. I would encourage you to sign up for a free, 7-email series called, "The Spiritual Starter Kit." It will be extremely helpful to you! Here's the link to it:
Can you tell me what led you to make the decision to ask Jesus into your life?
[comment: It's just like you would answer someone face-to-face. You want to give them assurance of salvation (which the above articles do). And you want to hear back from them.]
Wow - I think this site is great!! So glad to see someone presenting the truth!
Thank you for your encouraging email. We've put this together, to help you reach others using EveryStudent.com: https://www.EveryStudent.info.
May I ask, are you a college student? If so, what campus?
[comment: If they like the site, then see if you can move them toward thinking about ways God might want to use them in the lives of others. And see if you can connect them with a local CCC movement.]
What to do if....
1. Someone writes asking for a financial contribution.
Most financial requests are mass mailed and do not need any reply at all. You can just delete them. But, if that feels rude to you, you could say:
"Everystudent.com is an information Website that sells no products and exists on the contributions of others. As much as we would like to be able to meet people's financial needs, we do not have that ability."
2. The person merely wants to argue.
After a few communications (2-3 should be enough) you discern that he or she does not seem open to Christ. In this role, you need to guard your time and not spend undue hours with someone who simply wants to argue. You could say:
"The people on the everystudent.com team are volunteers, available to help answer people's questions. We are not here to argue, nor do we have the time to do so. I do not think it serves a purpose for us to continue in dialogue. I hope that other Websites or sources can better answer your questions and objections, so that you can come to know Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life, just as he said. I wish you well."
3. The person is being angry, rude and hostile in their email.
Jesus was crucified, nearly all of the early disciples were martyred, so I think we can endure some hostile emails. Try to understand their real question, and return a respectful, honest, and helpful reply. If it's really only vulgarity, delete it.
4. If the question is really off-topic.
You could say: "Everystudent.com is a site to help people understand who God is or what it might be like to know God. And we would be happy to respond to those kind of questions."