How To Lead Gospel Conversations
by Jonathan Dodson
Note from Pastor Adam: With the birth of another year to serve Christ within the GCV family, it seems wise to use my opportunities with the pastoral word to provide some articles that I have found helpful in the pursuit of gospel relationships here in the church, especially in the Grace Group setting. This first one is a practical encouragement to be listeners and thoughtful questioners in a gospel group setting. Remember that Philippians 2:3-4 instructs you, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Have you ever sat in a [grace] group discussion and found it incredibly difficult to get a good conversation going? I’ve found it can be very challenging to move conversations along, especially when you’re trying to go deep and get to the gospel. Here are a few principles that might help.
If you love, you will listen. In order to promote good gospel conversations in small group gatherings, it is important that everyone listens to one another’s story well. Don’t check out, criticize, or think about your own story. Listen to their story. In order to do this, everyone must ask questions of one another. If we love one another, we will learn to listen to one another’s stories over and over again.
Ask good questions. Our lives are continually changed through conflict, challenges, joys, relationships, and new experiences. Without asking good questions of one another, we can’t really share in deep community. Good questions help uncover the truth about how people are really doing and create the opportunity to share life and truth together. Ask questions and genuinely listen to one another’s stories.
Most people don’t naturally know how to ask good questions. Just after college, I decided to start asking people specific questions because I wanted to be others-focused, not self-focused. Learning to ask good questions may start as a discipline, but it can flower into a beautiful expression of love.
Here are a few examples of questions you can ask in a [grace] group or community discussion: When do you feel like that? Can you elaborate on that? How did that happen? How does that make you feel? Did you feel alone or supported? Were you afraid or confident? How did you respond? How are you feeling now? What concerns you the most about this?
Listening is just one part of leading gospel conversations.