Let me get right to the point. Church leaders (laity or clergy), I’m convinced you’ll lead your small group or congregation better if you follow these two simple steps each day:
- EVERY day, ask somebody about himself or herself.
- Genuinely listen in response.
Here are some reasons why this approach of asking questions and listening in turn will make a difference:
- It requires you to take attention off yourself. When you really want to know about others, it’s hard to keep the spotlight on yourself.
- It affirms others. Few things are as encouraging to us as someone else genuinely wanting to know about us. You’ll make somebody’s day better when you show that kind of interest.
- It makes you listen. That means you may have to lay down your phone, close your computer, and communicate face-to-face with undivided attention.
- It helps you know better the people you lead. If you’re a church leader, my guess is that you don’t know everyone in your church at a genuinely personal level. You likely won’t know them, either, until you take the initiative to ask them about themselves.
- It moves introverts out of their comfort zone. I know it does, because I’m that introvert. Making a commitment to ask intentional questions allows me to engage in conversations with less anxiety.
- It helps guide your praying. A generic prayer of, “God, help our church” has little comparison with, “God, please help ____________ as she seeks a new job where she can be your witness.” The latter kind of detail comes only when we ask people about themselves.
- It’s a means to connect with non-believers. Evangelism is sometimes difficult because we don’t know how to engage people we don’t already know. Learning to ask simple questions like, “Where are you from?” and “What do you do for a living?” can lead to “Do you attend church?” and “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?”
Take my challenge today. Ask somebody about himself or herself. Then, let us know what you learned about asking people about themselves.