Listening to spiritual stories

By Jim LaDoux
Ask people in your congregation about when they have felt most spiritually alive. Write down some notes you can share with your team.
Here is a possible introduction to your conversation:
“I am interested in learning more about how people experience God in their everyday lives. So I’m asking some people in our congregation a few questions about their spiritual lives. Thanks for being willing to talk to me.”

Questions to ask your friends, family or faith community

  • Reflect on a time when you would say you grew spiritually in a significant way. Describe what was happening in that period of your life.
  • What was it about this time of your life that you think caused you to grow spiritually?
  • Was there something during this time of your life that you think God was trying to teach you or show you?
  • Where do you experience God’s presence most often now? (i.e. in worship, in nature, in conversation with friends/family, in prayer, in Bible study, at yoga, etc.)

Questions to ask your neighbors

Find a few neighbors who are willing to be interviewed for 15-20 minutes. Here are some questions you might want to ask your neighbor.
  • How would you define your neighborhood?
  • How long have you lived/worked in this neighborhood?
  • What do you appreciate the most about the neighborhood?
  • What’s one challenge you think the neighborhood is facing?
  • What’s one hope you have for the neighborhood?
  • How do you think God is present in the neighborhood, if at all?

Questions to ask leaders in your community

  • Please tell me a little about your job. What are the primary responsibilities related to your work?
  • What most brings you satisfaction, both professionally and personally, in your job?
  • What are the two or three most significant challenges associated with you doing your job?
  • How would you assess the “quality of life” for community residents living in this area of the city?
  •  What are the primary trends and issues which are currently impacting this quality of life—whether for the good or for the bad?
  • What recommendations would you have for our local church regarding how to better connect with community residents and participate in constructive ways with community life?
  • What have we not discussed which would be helpful for me to know about in terms of our church working in this area of the city?

Tips for equipping leaders to ask spiritual questions

“I am a member of a local church that is located in this area of the city and we are trying to develop more awareness of what is happening and what the issues are in the set of neighborhoods we are seeking to serve.”
Schedule an appointment to conduct the interview (will take around 30 minutes, 40 at most)
Introduce yourself and the purpose of the interview—answer any questions the interviewee might have regarding what your church is doing
Take detailed enough notes during the interview so that they can be submitted for further analysis and reflection
Thank the person for taking time to visit with you
Person being interviewed by category: (check box)
___ Police person
___ Fire person
___ Principal or school teacher ___ Business owner/leader
List the following:
Name of the person being interviewed
Their professional role/title
Name the organization they represent
___ Political leader
___ Religious leader
___ Community organization leader ___ Other


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