Roger tells the story of the Christian at his workplace (we’ll call him Joe), who is already good friends with “Sam.” As they share life with each other, Joe asks Sam something like, “What would you think of having a few lunches together to see how the Bible sheds light on life?”
Joe has spent time listening to Sam, praying for him, and welcoming him into his life. Significant life topics have already come up in their conversations. Since Sam has experienced the way that Joe listens and asks questions, he trusts that their interactions will help him, so Sam says yes and they set a date for lunch!
Joe finds a Q Place Bible Conversation Card (sample card) that relates well with topics that Sam is concerned about—or else he just finds a few Bible passages that are a close fit—and he brings them to lunch along with five simple questions:
- What does this reveal about God?
- What does it reveal about people?
- What else do you learn?
- If you believed this was true, how would you apply it in your life?
- If you put it into practice, what could be the challenges? What could be the benefits?
These questions help Joe and Sam discuss what they are reading. Joe listens to the Spirit during this discussion and follows His leading so that in this safe place, Sam can self-discover the message of the Scripture. And that’s a Q Place!
Here’s a short description of each Q Place core value:
- Self-Discovery – People grow and learn best when they discover truth for themselves through discussion and study.
- Safe Place – An ideal environment for spiritual growth is in a small group where personal dignity is valued and leadership is shared.
- Spirit – God’s Spirit will guide those who are spiritually open.
- Scripture – The Bible and the life of Jesus are worth serious examination.
How does a person learn the things Joe knows?
For many Christians the Q Place method is a paradigm shift from what they’ve been taught over the years. For instance, many have been encouraged to “tell” seekers what is true, but Q Place recommends asking good questions and listening. This is probably the single most difficult thing for Christians to do, and yet it is crucial for spiritual conversations to flourish!
A recent experience drove this home to me when the 20-something man next to me on the airplane asked what I do. “I train people how to have safe spiritual conversations to process what they believe,” I replied. He lit up with, “Wow, I could use that! It’s hard to find people who believe what I believe.” After I asked, “What do you believe?” we had an amazing 20-minute conversation. How encouraging simply to sit and listen to this young man who eagerly talked about his beliefs, while I occasionally added a sentence or question! I was amazed that even when I kept my mouth shut, he talked himself out of some former “firm” beliefs! When I thanked him for openly sharing at the end of our trip, he thanked me for listening, saying no one ever really listens to him.
Sherry A. Weddell in her book Forming Intentional Disciples, says: “Individuals need a very safe, non-threatening way to express their thoughts or questions about God without overreaction or pressure from the Christian. It is very important to tread lightly. You can easily quench inquiries by drowning a teaspoon full of curiosity with a gallon of answers. Unfortunately, enthusiastic Christians can squelch a person’s thirst with too many answers…especially if the answers are harsh or judgmental.” (Read a story about this on the OnQ blog.)