This week I have been immersed in the scripture for this week’s sermon and I have been fascinated by the way Jesus asked such great questions. I think this is in part because in the past couple of weeks I have found myself searching for the right words to say.
But I have noticed that Jesus doesn’t really give a lot of quick fix answers throughout scripture. Rather he asks leading questions that would cut to the heart of the people that he was talking to. Here are 7 powerful questions that he asked that will shape the foundation and understanding of who God is and how we interact with God:
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28)
“Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26)
“What do you think about the Christ?” (Matthew 22:42)
“Do you love me?” (John 21:17)
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
“What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41)
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
I have been trying to ask better questions but there are times where I am still aloof as to where the conversation needs to be directed. Other times I default back to my “fixer” mentality of making action steps and following through with a plan. But, when we take time to follow through with asking better questions the people we are talking to can personalize and grow in ways that our giving them the answers cannot do. Also, questions that involve critical thinking then gives them some tools to cope and work things out when you are not around.
Here are some tips from an article I found about asking kids great questions:
However, effective questions communicate interest, help students feel known and loved, and even guide them to life change. My frustration and failures finally forced me to rethink my approach to connecting with students. I identified a few question-asking goals and
developed filters through which I put every possible question.
Insider questions. An insider question gets behind what’s easily apparent.For instance, if you see a student with a cast on his or her arm, the typical question would be, “How did you break your arm?” It’s a fi ne question, but the student has already answered it a thousand times. An insider question might be, “How did your parents react when you broke your arm?” This question gets me inside the mind or heart of a teenager instead of focusing on the event itself. Normal questions may break the ice, but insider questions get students telling you about the story underneath the “safe” typical answer. So, don’t waste time asking obvious, typical questions. Go for the good stuff .
Follow-up questions. When a student shares something with you, make
a bridge to a deeper question. For instance, “Wow, you won your baseball
game? That’s amazing.” Then, take a deeper path: “How does practicing during the week impact your homework?” “How do your parents respond to
that?” “What would they say if you quit?” The follow-up questions are always easier than the first insider question. Follow up with additional questions, and show that you care about the answers. Take an interest and keep digging with more questions.
Build on what you learned. When you’re with students, make sure to
comment on your last conversation together. Remembering conversations
is as important as remembering names. Linking to past discussions
communicates that you have a genuine interest in their lives. When you
remember what students tell you—even if you forget a couple of details—
you strengthen their belief that you value them and that talking to you isn’t
a waste of time.
One final piece I would add is not to give up. If the first, second or third questions seem to fall flat keep trying. If you get a middle school boy to say more than 4 words that is a huge victory many times. I have thought conversations were failures, and then a week later the student’s parent will say, “My kid can’t stop talking about your conversation and how great it was.” Like many other things great questions may just plant seeds that will not take root for some time, but be encouraged.