There have been a few moments in my life where someone asked a question that simply knocked the wind out of me!
One that was so profound, so biting, so poignant that it simply made me examine my life, my relationships and my priorities? I have a few Godly men in my life who are simply experts in questions. In looking at the life of Christ there may be no man who ever lived who had mastered the art of the question more than Jesus. He was able to ask a question that immediately went to the heart of a persons idolatry, desires, fears or sin. Conrad Gempf wrote a terrific book called Jesus asked that I often return to and see Jesus’ brilliance in everyday conversations. It can be seen with the woman at the well, with Joseph of Aremethia and in countless other encounters, just read the gospels & look at the art of Jesus conversations. So often as a pastor I forget the power of a question, the power of one moment of shepherding & over the past few months I have prayed a simple prayer before every meeting I enter & before every conversation I start. Lord give me the right questions to ask! Here’s some keys!
1) – Be lead by the Spirit – Silly I know, this should be common sense but it seems most of us were taught in bible college that the spirit only shows up in the pulpit or during worship. If we live this out then we miss the opportunity to ask the right questions & often to get to the heart of our people’s real issues. Shame on me for all the times I’ve small talked about sports & our city when there were questions to ask that may have moved the conversation from our agenda to Gods agenda. Be prayful in every conversation.
2) – Ask the next question -Our temptation is to stop short of asking the questions that really matter so we get right up to the line of asking something that matters & stop. We dangle our feet over the edge but we never ask the real questions, because we are afraid to offend or afraid of the consequences. I was once taught that in conversation as pastors & leaders we must say the last 10%. The same is true in questions ask the next question & ask the last question.
3) – Listening with gospel ears – Listen to peoples stories & listen for holes in their gospel understanding. Everyone has a creation story, a redemption story a, restoration story and a fall story. The problem is that most of the stories I hear, even from church going people, differ from the story of God. Most people believe they save themselves & that their biggest problem is not their own sin but what someone else has done to them. Listen for gospel themes & holes in peoples understandings, then ask questions to clarify beliefs & and reveal the heart of the gospel. Also listen for themes that are gospel themes and connect them to the story of God.
Praying that everyone of us who are followers of Christ is learning the art & the power of the question!
What is the best question anyone has ever asked you?