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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Questions - Asked

One of the things I learned from our time at Western Kentucky University was from a jock.  He was a football player whose dad was an evangelist.  Actually I learned it third hand from the Nav Rep who preceded me there.  It is one of those pithy down to earth maxims that does not leave you, “What you are not in on you are down on.”  This morning at a men’s study this came up as we were talking about an interactive way to share the gospel with people from Romans 6.

The application for us as dads is similar to what we discussed this morning.  People typically do not like to be lectured.  They would much rather be in a discussion.  That is especially true with our kids as they grow older.  If we want to draw them into a closer relationship with Christ we have to use questions to do so.  Rather than telling them what to believe, ask questions to lead them to engage them to think and process the information you are wishing to communicate.  One key is to make sure that he questions are open.  That is they cannot be answered with a single word or there are multiple possible answers.  Typically, these are going to be observation questions.

For example if you are looking at John 15:5 together, you may want to explore Christ’s statement that He is the vine.  Rather than asking, “What did Christ mean that He was the vine?” which calls for a definitive one answer, ask something like, “Christ said that He was the vine, what are some characteristics of a vine?”  That question asks for more answers than one, and may invite more dialog than the first.
Asking questions requires more of you than lecture.  It requires you to know the material and what you want to communicate at a deep level.  It requires you to listen closely to the responses of those with whom you are in conversation and to craft follow on questions that move the conversation toward the goals you have set.  But it solves the problem of those with whom you are interacting not being “in on” so they are not “down on.”


  1. Requires a whole LOT more than a lecture, for sure. Probably why most of us don't do it, or do more of it. It's so easy to lecture, and doesn't take as much time - to prepare or give.

    And it results in a whole lot less, as well....

  2. Amen, Sheila, my wife has repeatedly advised me to avoid the inclination of preaching to our 2 adult children, and I know full well debriefing observations and posing thoughtful questions, then listening are far more effective. My suspicion is if we never knew and internalized, felt deeply our ascribed authority as a father --- know who we "are" as separate from what we "do" -- we men just don't trust that approach and feel we've got to drive faith home generally by preaching. Far less effective also because the latter demands an authentic model--that the one preaching practice what they preach....