Inquisitive people win the day and show the way. Inventions happen when someone questions what others perceive as certain.
Jesus and Questions
Jesus asked 307 questions and was asked over 180 questions. Interesting the one who knew the most asked the most questions. Is it often not that way?
- Questions are how we learn. If I'm in your company see you do something I find unusual or speak of some approach to life/ministry that I don't understand - I'm gonna ask, "Why?" This is not a product of me being a bit older. For my entire life I've known asking questions was the key to my personal growth.
- Questions are how get other people to think past their prejudices. Socrates employed questions in training his students. He wanted them to talk and Socrates often spent significant time listening. The right questions have the potential to help others see life from a different perspective.
- Thinking people, those who impact the world are curious about the world and events within it. Who can read about the shepherds tending sheep at Christ's birth and not wonder how far they walked to visit the child? Of such curiosity powerful preaching has been developed. Such people ask thoughtful questions and build off of a conversation. (https://www.bustle.com/wellness/highly-intelligent-people-have-these-traits-heres-how-to-tell-if-youre-one-of-them)
The Failure of the Questionless
Nicodemus (John 3) came to Christ by night. He came with questions. There were 69 other members of Judaism's Sanhedrin Court. It could be asked, "Where were the 69?" Nicodemus question, which went unanswered, segued into a life changing relationship. And the 69?
I'm thrilled when Home Bible Study students ask questions. Such questions often wander far afield, but where there are questions life exists. Conversely, I get a bit nervous when there are no questions.
Practice the Ask
John Maxwell says that in his young life he developed a list of people he wanted to talk with. When the opportunity came he would contact that person and invite them to lunch, and offer to pay them $50 for their time. Those lunches were not for Maxwell to add to his ego list, "People I've had Lunch With." He went with an agenda. It was his legal pad with questions he wanted to ask the person.
I heard Maxwell and decided to practice the ask. Life has allowed me to be in the presence of men like Kenneth Haney, T. F. Tenney, J.T. Pugh, Nathaniel Urshan, Jerry Jones and David Bernard. But I've learned much from men you will never know. I've got questions for everybody. My standard questions:
- What is working for you? Why are new people coming to your church?
- What have you learned about being effective with internet ministry?
- How are you getting converts to a deeper level of commitment.
There is so much to learn. So much I can use. Pastors younger than me are doing things I want to learn how to do. I'll only get there by asking questions.
There are about a dozen pastors who are relatively constantly emailing or texting me, "I heard you say this in one of your services. Why did you say that?" How do you . . . ? What is the purpose of . . . ? Can you explain to me why . . . ?
Most are younger - questioning men who will make a difference. They want to learn how to do things better. They ask questions.
One of the most effective ways to teach is to allow people to ask you questions. Some of the questions are inane. Some are disconnected from what you are teaching about. Some are questions you won't know the answer too.
Come on - get over yourself! Those people know you don't have all the answers. Admit it. The statement, "I don't know but I will try to get an answer for us both" builds people's confidence in you.
That being said, you do need to know your topic rather well. If you are teaching on a priesthood after the order of Melchezidek, you likely need to know old "Mel" backwards and forward.
Ask questions . . . and invite questions. You do want to be like Jesus Christ don't you? He did both.