The Explorer: Talk with people to discover and understand where they are in their spiritual journey.
Key skills: Active listening and asking questions
Spiritual relationships, like all relationships, begin when people ask questions and get to know other people.
Think of explorers throughout history. They entered unknown territory to discover, learn and understand. In a similar way, we become spiritual explorers when love compels us to discover, learn and understand who people are and where they are going spiritually.
Our lives are filled with people who are spiritually unknown to us. The way people look or the words they use lead us to assume how open they are to God. Often we are wrong.
Asking questions and listening is a much more effective way to determine someone's spiritual hunger.
One of the best questions to ask is, "how are you?" Many people ask that question, but few people actually want an answer. If you really mean it, wait for a response and explore a bit. You will find that most people genuinely appreciate someone who cares enough to find out how they are really doing.
It may help to remember that journeys have a past, present and future. That means, as you seek to understand people, you should explore their past experiences, present attitudes and future direction.
The possible questions are limitless. Even strangers generally respond to someone who takes genuine interest in them. Of course, you will need to be sensitive to their openness, not prying if they are uncomfortable sharing.
As a spiritual explorer, listen for:
What do you share in common? Do you have similar interests, experiences or concerns? Common ground will help you understand the other person.
A window allows you to see what is on the other side. The closer you get to a window the more you see.
Listen for statements the person makes about how they are feeling or what they are passionate about. This is a window to their soul.
Life is hard. When people share about what concerns them, it gives you an opportunity to pray with or for them. If appropriate, it may give you an opportunity to give them hope from the Bible.
As you learn about other people, you will find it natural to develop deep relationships and start spiritual conversations.
This is part 2 of a 5-part series. In part 3, we investigate the second role of a CoJourner: being a guide.
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