Looking over the last page of blog posts, I’ve noticed that only 30% of them are God-related (as opposed to 40% Lady Freaking Gaga), so by way of breaking the theology dry-spell I’ve decided to blog a few of my favourite quotes from the book Organic Leadership by Neil Cole. I borrowed the book off my friend Tom a while back and should probably give it back soon, so I want to drink its blogging potential dry before I do! The following is an anecdote he uses to back up the idea that the two most important skills for leaders are listening and asking good questions:
An organic-church planter in the Denver area decided to test these princples…Tim Pynes went to a popular coffeehouse in the Boulder area with a sign that read: “I will buy you a free cup of coffee if you will listen to my story about God.”
Tim sat at a table for hours with this sign, and never did anyone stop to listen to his story and receive a free cup of joe. Occasionally someone, who was sure he was just another obnoxious evangelist wanting an audience, jeered at him.
The next day Tim went to another coffee shop, very much like the previous one, but this time he brought a difference sign. It read: “I will buy you a cup of coffee if you will tell me your story about God.”
That day Tim’s time was consumed with people who were glad to just sit and share their story of God. Tim listened to people. He listened carefully. He never intentionally interrupted or shared his own point of view. He was there only to listen and would only share if asked. And he was asked, repeatedly. As people told him their stories, they were struck by his rapt attention and became curious about this man. Each asked him to tell his story, which he promptly did. Some left and told their friends that they needed to go to the coffeehouse and hear that guy’s story.
Tim remarks that he rarely had to buy anyone coffee; many times others would insist on buying him coffee.
This experiment reveals something that Jesus already knew at a young age, but most of us go through life never learning: people respond better to those who will listen to them first…Asking questions is not an admission that you are ignorant or lacking in knowledge. On the contrary, it can often mean that you are more advanced in learning.