Don't Answer That Question

I used to think my role as the small group leader was to be the primary dispenser of information. To teach, to enlighten, to share my wisdom. Someone please help me understand why I thought I was qualified to do that?

I wish I had learned this simple principle much earlier: My primary role is not to answer questions. My primary role is to spark the right questions.

Honestly, I believe the best spiritual leaders are not those who know the most answers but those who lead people to the best questions. That’s what Jesus did. And I think we can all argue he is the best spiritual leader who has ever lived. Scripture records 307 questions that Jesus asked. He only directly answered three of the 183 questions asked of him. He often answered question with question.

Henri Nouwen said, “We have to keep looking for the spiritual questions if we want spiritual answers.”

I’m learning more and more about the art of asking powerful questions. The skill of a leader who seeks to draw out instead of cram in. Powerful questions can lead people to develop richer theology, a greater hunger for the Word and a more robust spiritual life.

The goal of the leader is not to answer all the questions; it’s to lead people to the best ones.  

 

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Heather Zempel
After working as an environmental engineer for a few years and a policy advisor on Capitol Hill for a few years, Heather finally landed as the Pastor of Discipleship at National Community Church in Washington, DC.