As someone who has interviewed thousands of individuals in my career, I’ve probably asked more than a million questions. That might even be underselling the number.
When I conduct an interview, I use a variety of techniques. Some questions are meant as ice breakers that help me connect with a subject. Other questions get the basics of a storyline. Still others yet are intended to delve deeper into someone’s life and help me understand what drives them.
If we boil questions down to their simplest form, they seem to fall into two camps: Those that ask us to recall information and those that challenge us to think, typically about ourselves or the world around us.
The first type is pretty simple. What is the capital of Delaware? (Dover) How many people live in Kenya? (46.05 million as of 2015) What is Chris Evans’ workout routine? (I wish I knew) These questions ask us to know specific facts or go find the answers.
The second type of questions can sometimes make us uncomfortable. What motivates me to do my job? How can I make the world a better place? Should I adopt a child? Google most likely can’t answer these questions for you. A search engine can provide you with information, but ultimately each of us must respond based on our own thoughts.
When families enter Buckner ministries, social workers ask them plenty of the second type of questions. Why have they come to Buckner? What are their goals? How do they envision accomplishing those goals? What is their purpose in life?
By asking these questions and listening to the responses, social workers begin understanding how families truly see themselves and the world around them. These questions uncover motivations, fears, issues and strengths. The answers lay the groundwork for a family’s transformation.
Asking the type of questions that encourage thought isn’t always easy. Answering them can be harder. That’s why we often avoid them – who really wants to have an difficult conversation? However, sometimes a little short-term difficulty is exactly what’s needed for long-term blessing.
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. –Proverbs 27:17
Written by John Hall, associate director of public relations for Buckner International.
- When is the last time you had a deep conversation with a Christian you respected?
- How can deeper conversations benefit you?
- Deeper conversations are best had with people with whom you have deep relationships. Examine where you can have these types of talks.
- Are you working through these questions as you disciple someone? If not, check out our Volunteer Central and see who you can begin serving through Buckner.