My son, “Ryan,” is really unsure about God or religion and if it all fits for him. That’s the main reason I signed up for Q Place Coaching—I wanted to learn how to start a group where people like Ryan could work through their questions about God.
In one coaching session we had an assignment of asking someone, “If you could ask God one question and you knew He would answer, what would you ask Him?” I hadn’t expected to see Ryan before the next coaching session, so I was surprised when he dropped in to borrow something—just a little while before that next session (the due date) was to start! The timing was remarkable, and I knew I had to give this a try.
So as Ryan was ready to leave, I bravely jumped in with “Hey, do you have a second? I have a question for you.” And then I moved right to the question: “If you could ask God one thing and knew He would answer, what would you ask Him?”
Ryan was taken back at first. “Whoa, what?!”
But then he went on, “Now, that’s a good question! Let me think a minute. . . .
OK—I would ask him why there are so many different organized religions to worship one God.”
Because of our coaching, my response was almost instinctive, “Yeah, that is a good question. Tell me more about why you asked that.”
I think Ryan could tell that I really wanted to hear what he would say, and so he was very open.
“It really turns me off about God and religion if everyone has an agenda and they all think I need to believe what they believe and how they believe. People fight and argue about this, and it makes me feel very confused and I don’t want anything to do with it.”
Before I started Q Place Coaching, I wouldn’t have known what to say or how I would ever invite someone to talk about God in a group with me. I also might have said something defensive about my own beliefs. But now I simply said, “That’s actually a common way people think.”
Then I told him how I was in the middle of Q Place training and as a result was considering starting a group where people can explore questions about God and the Bible and make discoveries for themselves without being pushed. I explained that it’s a spiritual journey, and “we help you get there through group discussion, listening to each other, and letting people find their way . . . not by pushing an agenda.” And then, I heard myself saying,
“If I get to the point where I feel comfortable starting a group like this, do you think you’d ever be willing to come?”
With hardly any effort, I had just invited Ryan to a future Q Place group!
If I was surprised at how easy it was to ask that question, I was amazed at Ryan’s immediate response:
“Oh, yes! For sure! And you know who else would want to come? My girlfriend. She would love those discussions!”
You can imagine how excited I was to share what had happened with my coaching group that evening!
Well, the story doesn’t stop there. It seemed that my son was ready for a Q Place group before I was fully ready to start one. However, my neighbor (the one who invited me into Q Place Coaching) was actually on the verge of starting a new group with her husband, and after praying about it, we decided to see if Ryan and his girlfriend would come with me to that group.
I told Ryan and Lisa that our neighbor’s group was going to discuss and reflect on the life of Jesus from the book of Mark in the Bible. They said they were willing to come to the trial meeting to check it out. And they came! After root beer floats, we shared get-to-know-you icebreakers and then a sample discussion of the lame man who was lowered by his friends through a roof to Jesus (from Mark 2).
I could tell that Ryan seemed at ease there, but I was thrilled the next day to see his text:
“I just wanted to say thank you for inviting us to that gathering last night. I felt comfortable for the first time in my life to share an alternative perspective with a group [like that]. I never felt judged or out of place.”
This is exciting. While talking with Ryan, all the stuff I’ve learned in coaching just came out of my mouth, and then within a few days he was sitting in a group, discussing Scripture, and enjoying it! I didn’t think I had the confidence to do that, but it felt really right. God does the moving. We just have to put our oars in the water!
– “Sue,” a Q Place Coaching participant and future Q Place facilitator
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