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Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
— Oprah Winfrey

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Who brings out
God’s best in you?

Who’s mentoring you?
Who are you mentoring?

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. — Henry David Thoreau

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

– Henri Nouwen

BE CURIOUS . . . LISTEN DEEPLY .  . .  SHARE AUTHENTICALLY . . .  MOVE BEYOND THE SURFACE 

Questions to Encourage Connecting Conversations

Ask your friends & family members one question a day for one month, or use these questions at a gathering with friends and family members. Keep a copy in your car, asking passengers questions to get to know them better.

  1. What topics or issues do you not like to talk about? Why?
  2. What character traits do you look for in a friend? Which traits do you possess?
  3. Who is the first person you would go to for help? Why?
  4. Who or what gives you a sense of belonging?
  5. What do you admire most in your parents?
  6. What do you like most about your mom? Your dad? Your child?
  7. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
  8. What are you most passionate about?
  9. What are some of your favorite topics to discuss?
  10. What is the most caring thing someone could do for you?
  11. What is the most frustrating conversation you have had with a person?
  12. When and where do you feel most at peace?
  13. What is the worst job you could possibly have? Why?
  14. What movie or book has had a profound influence on you?
  15. What has been your greatest adventure so far?
  16. What has been one of the most significant decisions you have made in your lifetime?
  17. If you could live during a different time in history, when would it be? Why?
  18. When is a time you had to be courageous?
  19. What activity or cause are you passionate about?
  20. What’s something you like to do that may be considered shallow, but you do it anyway?
  21. What advice have you passed on to your children? Will you pass on to your children?
  22. What is wisdom? Who is someone you consider to be wise?
  23. What is it that makes a relationship between two people spiritual?
  24. If you were famous, what would you want to be known for?
  25. In what circumstances is it hard for you to forgive others?
  26. Who has taught you the most about God?
  27. What is the biggest choice, change or challenge you are facing right now?
  28. What is it that most annoys you?
  29. What do you want to be remembered for when you die?
  30. What is the greatest challenge in being your age? What is the greatest joy?
  31. What would you describe as one of your mountain high experiences in life? A valley low?

Invite people you know and work with to respond to one or more of the questions below.  Use these questions at a retreat setting or take 5 minutes at a meeting to learn one new thing about each person present.

  • My full name is . . .
  • I was named after . . .
  • I was born in ____________________ on (day) . . .
  • Places I have lived include . . .
  • A favorite “growing up” memory is . . .
  • The high school I graduated from was called . . .
  • I attended college at _______________________ and majored in . . .
  • I currently work at _________________________ as a . . .
  • A person who has greatly influenced my faith is . . .
  • Turning points/milestones in my faith journey include . . .
  • Next steps for growing in my faith are . . .
  • I’m most aware of God’s presence in my life when . . .
  • Some of my God-given gifts/strengths are . . .
  • Ways I practice my faith at home include . . .
  • Two highs in my life include . . .
  • Two lows in my life include . . .
  • Two things that concern me right now include . . .
  • Two people who have influenced my life include . . .
  • Two experiences that have changed my life include . . .
  • Two causes I support include . . .
  • I want to learn more about . . .
  • I am most annoyed by people who . . .
  • If money were no object, I’d spend my time . . .
  • I’m at my best when . . .
  • I admire people who . . .
  • I want to be remembered for . . .

Have people being videotaped complete one or more of the following sentences.  These stories are usually less than 2 minutes long if shared in a worship or large group setting.

  1. Two people that have had a profound impact on my faith include . . .
  2. Turning points in my faith journey include . . .
  3. Some ways that I practice my faith every day include . . .
  4. Some ways we practice faith as a family include . . .
  5. Next steps in my faith journey include . . .
  6. People who currently support me in growing as a Christian include . . .
  7. The most meaningful portions of the worship experience for me are . .
  8. My favorite Bible story is _________ because . . .
  9. The Bible character I most identify with is because . . .
  10. The fruits of the Spirit that are most present in my life are . . .
  11. The most challenging thing about living out my faith is . . .
  12. What I most need from my congregation to help me practice faith is . . .
  13. Individuals from our congregation that inspire me to grow as a Christian include . . .
  14. Places where I’m most aware of God’s presence include . . .
  15. Causes I support as expressions of my faith include . . .
  16. An experience that changed my life was when . . .
  17. Two strengths or gifts of mine include . . .
  18. I help bring out the best in others by . . .
  19. Some things I do to make others feel welcome at our congregation is . . .
  20. I think God is calling me to . . .
  21. Some ways that Jesus makes a difference in my life is . . .
  22. Some ways that I encourage others to grow in their faith include . . .
  23. My favorite event sponsored by the congregation is . . .
  24. For me, to be a follower of Christ means . .
  25. I want to be remembered for . . .

Try out these questions to deepen relationships at your next golf outing.

  1. Describe your family. What are your favorite family memories?
  2. If your family had to move to another state where would you like to move?
  3. What do you like to do in your free time?
  4. What’s been the best day of your life?
  5. If you could add one room to your home, what would it be?
  6. What skill would you like to master (besides golf)?
  7. What three things would you like to accomplish in the next ten years?
  8. Who are the people that have influenced your life and faith? What did they say or do?
  9. If you could live your life over, what would you do differently?
  10. What are you most proud of in your life so far?
  11. If you could drive any car of your choice for one year, what would it be?
  12. What would you hope people would say at your funeral?
  13. Who are your favorite actors, musicians and comedians?
  14. What’s the most beautiful place you’ve seen? Describe it.
  15. What’s a concern or challenge you’re facing right now?
  16. What are three of your favorite restaurants?
  17. What are the most recent books, magazines or articles you’ve read?
  18. What do other people say that you’re good at?

Use these questions when interviewing new members or seeking to learn fellow leaders and family members. Ask a question a week at your staff meetings or post these questions on your Facebook page.

STRENGTHS

  • What comes naturally for you?
  • What do others say that you are good at?
  • What do you do better than most people?
  • In what ways are your strengths being used in ministry?

HISTORY

  • Where were you born?
  • What were some of your family traditions and faith traditions or practices?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Briefly describe your faith journey. How did you end up here (church, city, workplace)?

ATTRACTIONS

  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • What activities give you the greatest sense of satisfaction?
  • What attracted you to your place of employment?
  • What aspects of your job are life-giving for you?
  • What do you do and where do you go to get your batteries recharged?

PEOPLE & PLACES

  • Who has had a significant influence on your life?
  • To whom do you go to for advice?
  • Who are your “cheerleaders” in life? Who challenges you in your faith journey?
  • Do you have any spiritual role models? If so, who are they?
  • In what settings have you had the greatest impact on others?

EXPERIENCES

  • What do you consider to be key turning points in your life?
  • What life situations have caused the greatest growth for you?
  • If you could live your life over, what would you do differently? Do more? Do less?
  • How would you describe your current prayer life?

DREAMS

  • What are some of your personal hopes and longings?
  • How do you see yourself partnering with God to fulfill your congregation’s vision?
  • Do you have a personal and professional development plan?
  • What are some of your dreams for this congregation?
  • Five years from now, what would you like others to say about your ministry?

Use the WATER questions below at team meetings, family gatherings, small group sessions, and retreats to deepen friendships with friends, family members, and co-workers. Post questions on your Facebook page or in an email.

Where

  1. Where were you born? Where have you lived in since then?
  2. Where did you go to school? College?
  3. Where did you meet your spouse/partner?
  4. Where are your ancestors from? When did they come to the USA?
  5. Where have you worked in the past? What kind of work did you do?
  6. Where do you think you will be living 10 years from now?

ACTIVITIES

  1. What activities or hobbies do you enjoying doing in your free time?
  2. What clubs or organizations have you been, or are currently involved in?
  3. What teams do you typically watch or cheer on? What activities are part of family gatherings?
  4. What is one activity you’d like to take up or try on sometime in the future?
  5. Of the activities you currently enjoy, which one would you like to invest more time in?

Trips & Travels

  1. What was one of your favorite family trips when growing up?
  2. What trips are on your bucket list? Which one will most likely be your next trip?
  3. What have you learned about yourself and other people through your travels?
  4. Do your travel plans tend to be spontaneous or very structured?
  5. Describe one of the most unique experiences you’ve had while traveling.

Experiences

  1. What have been some of the most memorable experiences in your life?
  2. What experiences in life have shaped your life’s direction?
  3. What experiences in your life have been most challenging? In what ways have you grown from them?
  4. What experiences have you had related to loss or grief?
  5. What experiences have had the greatest impact on your faith?

Renewing People, Places & Practices

  1. Who are the people in your life that renew and energize you? Who brings out God’s best in you?
  2. What places or spaces are most renewing for you and why?
  3. What practices or activities help you recharge your batteries?
  4. What Sabbath moments have you built into your daily, weekly, and monthly routines?
  5. What grounds you? What reminds you of what is most important in life?

Respond to questions below to deepen your connections, celebrate experiences, and envision new possibilities.

What are the key memories we share from this past year?
1. Accomplishments:
2. Significant transitions:
3. Key learnings:
4. Primary challenges:
5. Family memories:
6. Life-giving events:
7. Loss of loved ones:

What are our hopes and dreams for the coming year?
1. Major purchases:
2. Travel plans:
3. Family rituals:
4. Home improvements:
5. New habits & routines:
6. New skills to develop:
7. Getaways as a couple:

How can we support each other’s . . .
1. Faith practices:
2. Personal goals:
3. Professional goals:
4. Health habits:
5. Long-term dreams:
6. Use of talents:
7. God-given gifts:
3 themes that will define next year include:

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Resources to Grow Transforming Relationships