The art of asking questions, listening to answers, and directing the conversation is something Jesus was a master at. And this process is one of our biggest tools to use in discipling others and determining where they are in the process. With that in mind, here are 4 questions that can help you both build relationship with your disciple, and determine where you need to lead them next.Asking good questions is one of our biggest tools in discipling others and determining where they are in the process. #discipleship Click To Tweet
4 Relationship Building Questions:
The answer to this question will reveal many things about the person you are discipling, here are two:
Time: How we allocate our time always shows what we hold important in our life. Initially, when building relationship with an unbeliever or an infant believer we should meet whenever they find it convenient rather than trying to force them into our timeframe. As they begin to grow in the faith, however, one of the fruits of that growth should be a desire to grow and learn and spend time with God’s people. At that point they should be exhibiting a desire to attend services and even small group. If someone is perpetually unwilling to carve out some time to spend together or time to attend Church services it is a good indication that they don’t see it as a priority. This is when you remember there are always 3 roles in the Discipleship Process – God’s part/their part/your part – you are responsible to extend the invitation. Forced participation in church activities or relationships may create an attendee, but it probably won’t create a disciple.
Insight: When you spend time together, you have a chance to learn much about your disciple and where their heart is. Think about the insights Jesus gained with his disciples by simply walking to a destination together! That was when he heard them discussing who would be the greatest among them. He found out Peter’s mother-in-law was sick when he dropped in at his house. Spending time with your disciple gives you a chance to ask questions and hear about their family, their work, their hobby’s. The knowledge you gain will give you a broader understanding of who they are and what is important to them. Finding out how they handle the relationships in their life will reveal much about their Spiritual level of maturity.Forced participation in church activities or relationships may create an attendee, but it probably won't create a disciple. #discipleship Click To Tweet
2. What are you looking for? What do you want me to do for you?
Asking an open ended question like this can give you a lot of information about the person you are discipling. For the most part, when people begin to seek out God, the Church, or God’s followers, it is because they are dissatisfied with something in their life. This could be someone who has made some obviously poor choices, or someone whose life looks good from the outside. We know that what they need is Jesus, but they don’t always want to surrender. Maybe they are looking at your life and they see something different, or perhaps they are just looking for a friend – someone who cares about them. As you walk beside someone who is a new disciple, initially they are looking for something for themselves. Many of us came to Jesus looking for a solution to outward circumstances, when what he really wants to do is change a heart.
Initial answers to this question could be anything from – “I just need someone to talk to” or “I want you to sit with me at church” to “Can you tell me what it means when the Bible says this?” As someone is growing in spiritual maturity, you may find their answer to this question is less inwardly focused. They may begin to have responses like: “Can you think of any ministry that needs a volunteer?” or “Where do you think I would be a good fit as a volunteer?”
Jesus showed us an example of meeting the physical needs of people as a means to being in a position to help them with their spiritual needs. The way someone answers this question will allow you to determine determine what they value, what they struggle with, and ultimately – where they are in their Spiritual maturity.
For the most part, when people begin to seek out God, the Church, or God's followers, it is because they are dissatisfied with something in their life. #discipleship Click To Tweet
3. What do you believe? or What does that scripture mean to you?
This question can help initiate some further conversation – and maybe some teaching moments. We have an example in the book of Luke of Jesus asking a question like this –
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live. But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:25-28
This conversation allowed Jesus to see the heart behind the experts response, and use the story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate and flesh out the scripture so that the expert could apply it to his life.
Asking someone what they believe the Bible is opening up a big window into their world view. Someone who is a non believer or fairly new might see the scripture as optional rather than the inherent Word of God. Or they may see it as something old that was true centuries ago but has no bearing on today or in their life. Sometimes people will take a verse out of context and try to assign meaning to it that is misleading. Whatever the answer, there is usually opportunity for further understanding and growth for both the disciple and the disciple maker.
A.W. Tozer said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Having someone share what they believe about God is an open window into their life and perspective. If your belief about God is based on brokenness in your life, rather than in the Truth, it will affect your relationship with God and your ability to accurately share Him with others.If your belief about God is based on brokenness in your life, rather than in the Truth, it will affect your relationship with God and your ability to share Him with others. #discipleship Click To Tweet
4. What are you afraid of?
This is the million dollar question. If you can ask this at the right time, and get an honest response, mountains can be moved. Jesus asked this of his disciples in the boat:
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:37-40
Of course, seeing Jesus actually hold control over the storm would go a long ways in proving to the disciples why they should not fear it. But watching the disciples fear of the storm even when the Lord of creation was in the boat, gives much insight as to where their faith was placed.
Fear is a driver behind so many decisions we make and things we do. And many times we are not even aware of it. Fear likes to hide down deep and disguise itself as excuses that sound quite acceptable – such as “I’m just being cautious”, ” I am under time-constraints”, “I haven’t studied/learned enough” , “I’m not ready yet”, “That is not within my gifting/calling/purpose”
Asking the person you are discipling “What is holding you back?’ or “What are you afraid of” is an opportunity for them to do some self-discovery – to look inside themself and get far enough past the excuses to figure out the issue that may really be driving them. The things we fear are the things we allow to control over our life. And once you are able to bring that to the light – much progress can be made!
So – there are 4 questions to get you started as you go attempt to go deeper in relationship with the people you are discipling. Jesus gave us such an example of asking questions and listening to answers. Asking good questions and then actively listening to the answers is a tool that a good disciple maker should keep in constant use – it will not only yield a wealth of information, it will build better, deeper relationships at the same time.