How often have you greeted someone with the question: “How are you doing?” and had no intention of having that question taken seriously? Alternatively, consider how powerful it is for someone to genuinely want to listen to you as you respond to that question? Questions that are asked and then seriously listened to are powerful ways to help us get beyond the superficial. Good questions help us probe beneath the surface and clarify our own thinking.
Good questions can be a helpful tool in evaluation. They should be open-ended and designed to cause you to think more deeply. For example:
What are three or four satisfying experiences of ministry that you have had in the past several months?
What have you learned from some challenges or frustrations that you have experienced?
What is something you would like to do but haven’t felt time or conditions have allowed?
What are ways in which the Session can be more supportive in your ministry?
Where have you experienced genuine joy and fun recently?
What is one of the bigger pressures that you are experiencing?
EXPAND THE CONVERSATION
If you would take up to an hour and try to answer each of these questions with at least three or four sentences, I think you will find that it will expand your thinking.
If you would invite a trusted colleague in ministry to answer the same questions and then meet to share your responses, you will find some renewed energy for ministry and life.
Then, if you are really adventurous, invite several colleagues, perhaps with some diverse theological background, and engage in this process. You might discover a whole new arena of colleagueship. God loves to work through diversity that expands our horizons.
MORE NEXT TIME
In the next blog, I will suggest how this discipline of questions can be used by the session as a means of exploring the future ministry of the church.