Over the last two days I have been meeting with my counterparts from LEA, LEQ and LEVNT to further flesh out the program for the LEA National Ministry Conference. It was a very energising time as we asked each other question after question. Openly listening to each other and gaining clearer understanding of each other’s perspectives certainly took some time. What resulted though, was the co-construction of a conference program that we are truly excited about and are looking forward to seeing lived out in each region.
As we reflected on our two days and laughed at the amount of questions we asked of each other, someone commented, ‘But isn’t that what Jesus did? He asked lots of questions of people?’ She was right!
- Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)
- Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matt. 7:3)
- Why did you doubt? (Matt. 14:31)
- What is it you want? (Matt. 20:21)
- Why are you trying to trap me? (Matt.22:18)
- Why are you bothering this woman? (Matt.26:10)
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matt. 27:46)
And that’s just a small sample from the book of Matthew.
As we continue Jesus’ ministry of making him known within our ever-increasing diverse contexts, questions are a very useful tool to help us gain a fuller and clearer understanding of the situation or perspective of those we are ministering to. The LEA National Ministry Conference will offer us a framework to help us consider the questions to ask, how to ask them, and how to navigate through the variety of responses.
Whether you are attending the National Ministry Conference or not, within the Capability of ‘Building Community’ (Growing Deep) is the indicator of ‘Listening and understanding’:
Involves the ability to be fully present and engaged in effective dialogue with others in a way that communicates a deep respect and empathy for their circumstances, background, culture and intentions. At its deepest it includes insightfully reading the unspoken thoughts or feelings of others and underlying assumptions, intentions or reasons for their behaviour.
May God grant us the grace and wisdom to be fully present in the face of diversity and to respectfully ask questions in a way that communicates a deep respect and empathy for people’s circumstances, background, culture and intentions. Amen.
Spiritual & Cultural Leader