Yes, it’s true, often missions advocates, missions mobilizers like ourselves perceive ourselves as the mission expert. We’re going to help people get a clue about what God is doing in the nations all the many opportunities and needs and how they should be responding. And yet, at times, that can turn people’s hearts and minds off a bit, because really most of us don’t like to be told what to do.
“If you feed a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime”. We’ve discovered that giving advice and solutions is kind of like giving fish, it just gives a solution for that moment for that situation.
So perhaps there’s real wisdom in moving away from that role of expert and moving more toward the role of listener, learner, and coach, right? Rather than compulsively just giving advice, we actually slow down and listen, and ask questions and help people discern what God is asking of them so they can own it going forward. And this is the real power of this approach, it’s the power of asking questions… Right? You might remember the community development principle that goes like this, “If you feed a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime”. We’ve discovered that giving advice and solutions is kind of like giving fish it just gives a solution for that moment for that situation. But if we teach people and give them the opportunity to discern what God is doing they develop the capacity and the ownership to take that going forward into the future.
So let’s continue, as missions advocates to slow down, learn to ask questions. Trust that the Holy Spirit is a better mobilizer than we are, and allow people the dignity of owning… discovering and owning what God is saying about their role in the Great Commission.
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash
This is so true. I could see myself through the narrative. Sounding like the expert “telling” people what they don’t know and should do. Really? How did we get there.
What are some of the questions mobilizers ask that have proven to have the highest impact over time? Can anyone share some?
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That is such a great question about best questions! We will take some time to compile some of our favorites and get back to you. We like to begin by asking questions that give the leaders the chance to tell how God has lead them so far. Also what their vision and values are at this point in their journey. One of our favorite question asking resources is called “Coaching Questions” by Tony Stoltzfus
This is a great question about asking questions 🙂 Here is a great series of questions we would suggest. https://spark.adobe.com/page/45X1I36tHJgK1/