One of my best friends, Steve, has taught me a thing or two over the past 20 years that I've known him. Right at the top of the things I've learned from him is the value of a good question.
I've often been on the receiving end of my friend Steve's questions which have "drawn out" my thoughts, feelings, values, and convictions. Ultimately those questions have influenced my decisions and my relationship with God and others.
Solomon said in Proverbs 20:5, "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." (NIV)Each person has a heart of "deep waters". In my 20 years of experience working with all types of people in all types of circumstances as a youth pastor, small group leader, and now as a senior pastor, I have observed how the "deep waters" in a person's heart develops.
As we are "doing life" amidst change and influences that surround us we formulate thoughts. These thoughts lead us to draw conclusions that in turn develop convictions and values about life, about God, about people and about ourselves. In other words, life itself forms these "deep waters" in our hearts. And it is ultimately out of these "deep waters" that we act. Perhaps that is why Proverbs 4:23 is so solemn in its admonition to "above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."(NIV)
If you want to more effectively and more Biblically influence the lives of your small group members, you will need a toolbox of good questions that "draw out the deep waters" of a person's heart. Good questions will: challenge convictions, reveal partial truths or outright lies in thinking patterns, expose feelings, inspire hope, and can help lead a person to the truth. Here are some examples:
- Questions that challenge convictions: Why do you think that? What experiences have led you to those conclusions? Are you open to rethinking your convictions?