“We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I have the privilege of regularly leading workshops on mentoring for the ministry I work with. We do these workshops regularly to encourage and equip Christ-followers to help others follow Jesus. We spend some time in each workshop discussing what qualities make for an effective mentor. Two important qualities we talk about are:
1) being a good listener, and
2) asking good questions.
The connection between these two qualities can be seen in Proverbs 18:2. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” In other words, an ineffective mentor will only seek to get their opinion across with little or no regard for the betterment of the one being discipled.
To effectively disciple someone, you need to seriously understand their situation, story, and struggles.
To understand someone’s situation, story, and struggles, you need to ask good questions.
To know what good questions to ask, you need to listen well.
When we’ve patiently, prayerfully, and lovingly sought to understand someone by listening and asking good questions, we can more effectively teach and speak the truth of the gospel into their life.