Week 4: Good Listening

"Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.” (David Oxberg)

The key to being a good listener is not being passive and saying nothing. Instead it is an active process that usually involves asking good questions and paying close attention to responses. Good listeners ask good questions

-Questions inspire people to discover something new, to unearth new knowledge.
-Questions stimulate thought. That is why good teachers ask question of their students rather than just lecture at them.
-And questions forge intimacy.  That’s why you sometimes leave a conversation in which many question have been exchanged feeling noticeably connected to the person with whom you were speaking. We feel that sense of connection because questions have sparked mutual curiosity and created a sense of collaboration. 

Everyone has a spiritual story, even an atheist. Carefully and prayerfully asking questions can uncover these stories.  There are things that happened in their past that shaped who they are, how they think about God, themselves, people, the meaning of life. Understanding how people got to where they are today can help you guide them toward the truth about God and his good intentions for them.

Sample questions for building relationships and uncovering spiritual stories...

Tell me more about your story –what is your background?
Where did you grow up and what was your family like?
Who had the most positive impact on you growing up? The most negative?
Tell me about your major in college.  Why did you choose to study that?
How would you define success in life?  Why do you define it that way?
Did you grow up in a particular religion? Are you still connected to that faith? (If the answer is no, ask) What changed for you?
What most shaped your spiritual beliefs today?
What most shaped your view of  life and what it's about?
What questions would help you get to know the stories of the people God has placed around you?