The Arts of Spiritual Conversations

The Arts of Spiritual Conversations™ curriculum covers nine essential relational practices that help Christians to cultivate ongoing spiritual conversations with people who believe differently. As "arts," they are both appealing expressions and skills that are developed with practice. They build a foundation of trust which allows for deeper, more authentic spiritual conversations.

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Arts

The first nine modules of the Arts of Spiritual Conversations™ are now available for purchase as digital downloads through our web storeThe complete Arts curriculum will consist of thirty-six modules, with four modules for each Art. Each learning module is designed as a one-hour inductive discussion for a triad, small group, or larger group setting. You can choose among the learning modules in the series to create a custom plan for support and training that best fits the needs of your individual triad, small group, or ministry meeting.

The Arts are grouped in an order that isn’t rigidly linear and sequential, but the order does represent a typical flow as you prepare to launch a Q Place:

Getting Ready:

1. Art of Noticing: How much attention do you pay the checker in the grocery store?  Or the guy who rides the same train every day?  For most of us, the answer to this is embarassingly little.  What we might not realize is that noticing something about someone else could make that person’s day.  More than this, it could be the start of a beautiful friendship (to steal a certain famous Bogie line).  Noticing has much more to do with loving than we might realize. By practicing the art of noticing, we come that much closer to representing Christ to those in our sphere of influence.

2. Art of Praying: What difference does prayer make in spiritual conversations?  All the difference! It is essential to ask God about other people as we ask people what they think about God.

3. Art of Listening: Do you ever notice how often we speak past each other? Does it ever frustrate you when it is clear that people aren’t listening? When people listen to us, it is easier to trust them. If we want to create relationships based on trust, we need to understand what it means to listen well.

Getting Started:

4. Art of Asking Good Questions: Ever notice how often God asks questions of people?  He knows everything!  Why would he need to ask questions? Consider how in Luke 24, Jesus asks several questions of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Surely he knew what they were talking about, but he asks so that they might be encouraged by his attention to their points of view.  What happens when someone asks you a good question? What do you think would happen if you asked good questions of your friends, like God does in the Bible?

5. Art of Loving: How can we better love others as we love ourselves?  What can we do to really make others feel loved?

6. Art of Welcoming: Some of us have a gift of hospitality, and others of us have to work at it.  But welcoming is more than just putting brownies in front of people: there is a nuance, an art to making people feel at ease. Q Place Initiators want to create an environment that immediately resonates with newcomers as safe, inviting, relevant, and appealing.

Keeping it Going:

7. Art of Facilitating: Knowing when and what to say in a Q Place requires trust in the Holy Spirit to give you words and a sense of timing. It also requires some basic understanding of small group dynamics.  A good facilitator recognizes that, because everyone learns differently, it is necessary to ask good questions that help every person learn at his or her own pace.

8. Art of Serving Together:  One of the best ways to grow love among those in your group is to figure out ways to serve together. Jesus went so far as to wash the feet of his disciples. Service can also play a vital role in the group fellowship, especially if everyone is serving each other or if you work as a team to serve the community.

9. Art of Sharing: Finding a balance between encouraging vulnerability and empowering people requires practice and nuance, and frequently begins with finding ways to share about ourselves and to share what we have with others.  Setting an example of sharing can be one of the most powerful models we can give to our groups.