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The power of questions

Al, Entrust, Asia

black and red questions marks

A good question is a powerful tool in moving those we teach further down the path of spiritual maturity.  Let’s look at a few things a good question can accomplish — things that are desired outcomes in church leadership training.

  • It can shake us out of our complacency and bring us face-to-face with reality. As fallen creatures, we have a huge capacity for self-deception and reality-avoidance. After Adam and Eve sinned, God peppered them with questions, confronting them with the real consequences of what they had done. (Gen. 3:8-13)

  • It can force us to get off the fence and take a stand. Commitment is becoming a rare commodity. Jesus didn’t hesitate to question those on the fence. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? . . . But who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:13-15)

  • It can challenge us to reconsider long-cherished beliefs. We all have preconceived notions and prejudices. Jesus constantly challenged the religious leaders of his day about their long-held traditions. “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil, to save a life or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9) “You hypocrites, does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him?” (Luke 13:15-16)

  • It can prod us to practice what we preach. We often say one thing and practice another. We’re lulled into thinking it’s enough to hear and understand. (James 1:22-25). In Luke 10:25-37, the expert in the Law knew the right answer, but Jesus wanted to know if he was living it. So Jesus described the Good Samaritan and then asked a question; “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” Then Jesus added, for good measure: “Go and do the same.”

To ask a good question, you need to know your subject matter and your audience.

Christ is our supreme example of how to ask good questions. Even at the tender age of 12, he manifested an amazing grasp of the issues being discussed by the adult teachers of the Law. (Luke 2:46-47) John informs us that as Jesus began his public ministry, he “knew all men, and … did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for he knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)

Jesus knew his subject and his audience inside out!

Al, Entrust, Asia

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