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One Question: 3 Game-Changing Responses

This is a guest post from online friend and pastor Nathan Rouse. Nathan is Lead Pastor at Raleigh Christian Community, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Check out these thoughts from Nathan:

With those I lead, my words carry a lot of weight. With these weighty words I’ve blown it and crushed people and on other occasions by God’s grace I’ve brought healing. But, I’ve found that some of the most intimate and helpful words that I’ve given to others come in the form of the question, “Would you share your story with me?”.

Let me give you 3 reasons why I’ve found this question to be a relational game changer:

It tells the person that you desire to truly know who they are.

Believe it or not people aren’t asking each other this question. I’m continually amazed how our conversations even with those we call close friends tend to stay on the surface. So when you ask someone this question it’s like a breath of fresh air. In essence you’re saying to them, “You’re valuable and I want to know who you are.”

It says, “I’m not the focus right now, you are.”

As leaders if we’re not intentional about putting the focus off ourselves and onto others, there will be many who will inherently make our conversations about us and our priorities for them. We need to be able to turn the tables and get back into their world and make the focus about them. This isn’t a leadership gimmick that seeks to make people think we really care. A leader who is worth his or her salt actually cares about those they lead.

It says, “I’ve got time for you.”

In a society that has pushed out all margin for relationships, people rarely “go there” with others around them. Turning to someone and asking to hear their story speaks volumes in regards to them being the priority in that moment. As a pastor that’s leading a growing church, I have countless people who start their conversations with me with this phrase, “I know you’re busy, but”. People automatically assume about themselves and others that we just don’t have time. Asking this question about their life’s journey gently encourages them that you do have and want time with them.

Bottom line: Leadership isn’t done in a vacuum. It’s done with people. The greatest gift I can give those I lead is to ask to know their story. Give that priceless gift this Christmas.

Let me hear from you. How have you gone about creating relational moments with those around you? Share a comment.

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.