Leadership DevelopmentNext time your people meet to dig into discipleship or leadership development, try this. Break people into groups of three. Then give one person the floor for thirty minutes to talk about they’re experiencing God and what they’re hearing from him. The other two people can’t do anything except listen and ask clarifying questions. No suggestions, no ‘I did it this way,’ no leading questions, no shifting the spotlight to themselves. Just listen, and then take a bit of time at the end to pray for that person. Then it’s the second person’s turn, then the third person’s turn. The whole exercise will take between an hour and half and two hours, but it should give them a taste of what it means to listen to the Holy Spirit in the context of community.”

You might wonder if people will be willing to talk about themselves for half an hour. Generally they are, but you can adjust the time-frame down to 15 minutes per person if you have doubts. Likely you’ll see light bulbs were going on all over the room about what it means to listen to the Holy Spirit—and what it means to listen to others, as a matter of fact. You wouldn’t think that something as simple as just listening to someone else would have much of an impact—especially when you’re not allowed to give advice. But that was actually the beauty of it.

So what can you do to give people a little bit of structure for this exercise? Some people can just go with “How have you been experiencing God this week?” But most of us would like a little more structure. You could try using the “Barnabas Questions.” Ask someone in the group to voice these questions:

  1. How are you?
  2. What are you celebrating?
  3. What challenges are you experiencing?
  4. What do you plan to do about these challenges?
  5. How can we help you?
  6. How can we pray for you?

You could also download the free document from my website called Coaching Questions for the 12 Life Commitments. These 12 open-ended questions centering on our lives as disciples should provide a full year’s worth of material if you meet monthly.