Hultner Estrada with Bethany Beachum
“Through the Mission for Transformation courses I learned how to be inquisitive,” says Fátima Guevara, a leader of “La Hermosa” Church in Estelí.
There is an interesting story behind the previous statement.
Fátima, a physical therapist by profession and a youth leader in ministry, is a friendly and a hard working person. She admits, however, that she had certain fears that affected her ministry. “Because of my shy personality, I had a lot of difficulty relating with other people. In my youth group I kept a distance between myself and the youth. I would just arrive, share a message, we would sing some songs, we would interact a bit, and then it was, ‘See you next Monday!’ The following Monday, we would repeat the same thing. I was not someone who would ask the kids how they were doing or how their families were. For me, that was like meddling in their lives. I had a lot of fears, but after attending some of the courses for youth leaders, I was able to understand the importance of getting closer to the kids, establishing personal relationships, and seeking them out during the week as well.”
“In the courses, I learned that my thinking had been wrong. I learned that when I ask questions, it makes others feel like I am interested in them. Now I ask, “What’s your name? Do you have siblings? How are you feeling? How have you been doing?’” says Fátima.
In the Nehemiah Center’s courses for youth leaders, we studied how Jesus was always asking questions and how at times, he even asked questions that seemed childlike. For example, he said to the blind Bartholomew, “What do you want me to do for you?” On another occasion, he said to a man who had waited for a miracle for 38 years, “Do you want to be healed?” Even to his enemies, he asked, “Why do you want to kill me?”
These questions that Jesus asked gave a distinctive character to his ministry. He gave people the
opportunity to express themselves with their own voice and he gave them all of his attention. This is how we see him on the road to Emmaus, asking his confused disciples, “What are you talking about amongst yourselves?” Then we see him give them all the time necessary for his followers to tell him the whole story.
And us? Do we ask questions? Is our ministry distinguished by an ability to ask questions before speaking and acting? How willing are we to listen to the details of those stories other people need to tell?
Just imagine what could happen if we asked more often in the communities or groups where we serve, “What can I do for you?” “What are the people talking about?”, “What
are your concerns?” With Jesus’ example, we are given permission to do this!
Fátima reminds us that a Christian leader should be inquisitive. In these times of fleeting and superficial relationships, our society is thirsty for those who take the time to listen to others and for people who show a genuine interest in finding answers more than imposing answers. If the Church of Jesus Christ does not do this, “Who then will quench this thirst?”
“Always the beautiful answer who asks a
more beautiful question.”