Saturday, October 6, 2007

Does anyone have a question?

It's all about questions. Short, direct questions. Open-ended questions. Questions that focus endless possibilities into potential next steps. Questions that call out our hopes, dreams and beliefs. Questions that help us sort our priorities. The right question at the right time can change everything.

Just think of a few crucial questions Jesus asked. Not the rhetorical questions of his speeches, or those from debates with the Pharisees, but the questions that intersected the lives of people. To the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, "But who do you say that I am?" To two blind men in Jericho, "What do you want me to do for you?" To the crippled man beside the pool of Bethsaida, "Do you want to be made well?" And to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me?" These are questions that define life itself.

The last couple of days I've spent in a Coach Net training hosted by our Conference and so questions are on my mind. Good coaches work on asking good questions. I know I learned a lot and hopefully will do a better job at this. We've all heard the expression, "Think before you speak." Well, I need to "Think before I ask." Does the question assume a certain answer? Does it seek information or insight? Is it leading or limiting? Is it focused and concise? Does the question reflect the holy gift of sharing our lives?

Preachers are notoriously "tellers" rather than "askers." We all have a "word" we want to say. Plus my personality profile puts me in the "teller" quadrant. So attending to good questions is a continual necessity for me. The Coaching task is not to tell others what they need to know and do. It isn't to solve another's problem or determine the course of action for him/her. Coaches come alongside asking the kind of questions that help others become clear on what it is they feel led to do and how they will get it done.

I imagine the disciples, the crippled man, and Peter never forgot the experience of Jesus' question calling out the truth of themselves. I wonder how often we get such Godly experiences. Can you think of a time when someone's question made the difference for you? What's THE question of your life right now? Ask, and you shall receive.

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