November 29, 2018

Giving the Gift of Questions

Bill Wilson

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:1-2

One of the important aspects of the Christmas story is the questions asked. One of the most significant questions asked, was by the wise men from the east, Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? That one question changed their lives forever. This is an insightful reminder of the gift of asking questions. Most of us are in the business of telling. We generally spend our time declaring, announcing, expressing, directing, and communicating. This is part of our calling and we should do it with compassion and passion. However, one of the gifts you can give your family, friends, and the folks you lead this Christmas, is the gift of questions. In other words, it is vital we improve the art of asking questions. Now here are some questions to ask yourself first.

  • What is my ratio of statements to questions with the people I serve?
  • How often do I ask first before I tell?
  • What are ways I can build the habit of asking more and better questions?

Questions are a wonderful gift to those you serve and lead. It shows interest and provides insights into being more effective and impactful. Jesus used questions to teach. He once asked the most important question ever asked, “Who do people say I am?”
The best leaders I’ve met are skilled at asking purposeful and penetrating questions. Leadership writer Kevin Eikenberry has stated, “It is almost a self-evident point because questions help us in so many ways. They help us communicate, solve problems, make decisions, coach others, and far more. When we ask questions and listen to the answers, we are showing respect and valuing the other person, as well as their opinion.”

I’ve learned that one of the best gifts I can give a person is a meaningful question. One simple and sincere question can lead to a deeper friendship, helpful insight, beneficial conversation, and even an affirming prayer.

Five Categories of Questions I Have Found Helpful:

  • History Questions: Where were you born?
  • Home Questions: What do you like where you currently live?
  • Hobbies Questions: What do you enjoy doing on vacation?
  • Hero Questions: Who helped shape your life as a kid?
  • Hopes Question: What would you like to be doing in two years?

These are a few examples of questions I use. I can testify that they have opened up some amazing conversations led by the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to start asking more questions of people. It is a gift worth giving. The discoveries will surprise and bless you.

Oregon Ministry Network

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