Every person is on a spiritual journey. Life has been viewed as a journey as far back into history as literature takes us. It’s a universal concept.
Joining others in their spiritual and life journey is one of the world's greatest needs and greatest privileges. Perhaps you've had the privilege of participating in a friend's life journey as Jesus was transforming his or her life. It's a truly remarkable experience.
Unfortunately, even though many of us desire to "cojourn" in the spiritual journeys of our friends, insecurity, fear, and not knowing where to start often prevent us. But there is a way forward. It's called "SomeTime."
SomeTime is a cojourner experience—a time dedicated to exploring the spiritual backstories of our friends. Simply put, it's about taking interest in others. It's about asking questions. It's about seeking to understand the faith journeys of friends.
SomeTime is a guide designed to help us get past some common obstacles through a few simple, doable steps. And it seeks to create a space for joining others in their spiritual and life journey through planned conversations.
During this cojourner experience you will be asking friends a "Sometime..." question. For example, "Sometime, I'd like to hear about your spiritual journey...Would you be up for that?" And during that conversation (or in a next one), ask if you can meet to hear his or her story.
That's it. Seriously. It's really that simple. (If you missed it, re-read the previous paragraph.)
ASKING A "SOMETIME..." QUESTION —A PRACTICAL TIP
As you think about asking a “Sometime…” question, you may realize that you want help taking the conversation to a place where it makes sense to even ask that question. So here’s a tip:
First make a spiritual statement. Then ask a spiritual question.
For example, you could talk about the weekend…
“Last weekend, I went to First Street Church. Are you currently involved in any kind of faith community?”
After you listen to your friend’s answer to that question, ask:
“Sometime, I’d like to hear more about your spiritual journey…would you be up for that?”
MEETING WITH FRIENDS—A HELPFUL GUIDE
Being upfront with your friends by asking a “Sometime…” question and meeting with them one-on-one will set you up to have genuine and meaningful conversations.
During meetings with friends, some of you will want to use a conversation tool like Soularium or Perspective to explore your friend’s journey. Others of you will prefer not to use any tools. For those of you who prefer to explore purely through dialogue, without the aid of conversation tools, here are some helpful tips!
SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND—YOUR FIRST PRIORITY
Your first priority is to simply understand your friend’s experiences. Ask questions. Focus. Listen. It’s that easy. There is no pressure to do or say anything. Simply listen! Put yourself in your friend’s story. See what your friend sees. Feel what your friend feels. Experience your friend’s life through the stories he or she is sharing.
If you don’t understand something, ask further questions. And if you disagree with what your friend is saying, your first step is to seek to understand. (This is not a time to debate. Empathy doesn't mean that you have to agree with their perspective; it means you authentically understand the person's experiences, emotions, and viewpoint.) Learning to be a good listener is one of the most important skills you can learn. Listening keeps the door open for future conversations. For your friends, the experience of feeling listened to and understood can be incredibly powerful.
*** Important Note: Before you explore the spiritual backstories of your friends, reflect on your own! (For some helpful questions, check out “Preparing Your Personal Testimony”)
AN EASY APPROACH
Explore Past Experiences: Where they’ve been
Explore Present Attitudes: Where they are
Explore Future Direction: Where they are going
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