Asking inspired questions can invite the Spirit to teach in deep and meaningful ways. Consider how your mind ponders the following question: “Lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15)
When the Savior taught His disciples and others, He asked questions to allow the listeners to consider their own hearts and gain answers for themselves.
Sister Lori Newbold, a member of the Young Women general advisory council, recalled that as a 13-year-old girl, an adult leader said some unkind things to her at a Church activity. As a result, Lori went home determined to never go to another Young Women activity or class. The next Sunday, she went to sacrament meeting but immediately walked home afterward, holding true to her determination to avoid Young Women classes.
Shortly after her family returned home from Church, her inspired bishop came over for a visit. When the subject of her hurt feelings was brought up, he lovingly listened to her justifications for never returning to class, and then he asked a question that changed her life: “Are you going to let someone else’s actions determine your salvation?”
Since that visit so many years ago, Sister Newbold has had that question come to her mind many times, helping her handle situations in a more Christlike way. By simply asking an inspired question, her leader helped her to learn a lesson that stayed with her for a lifetime.
Like Sister Newbold’s bishop, leaders can ask inspired questions to help others become more like the Savior and increase their capacity to lead. Let’s consider some different types of questions that leaders can use to help others grow.
Questions that invite revelation
Christlike leaders consistently ask Him how He would have us do His work. He has promised us, “Ask, and ye shall receive” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:7). How often do you ask the Lord what He would have done rather than telling Him what you would like done?
- “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6)
- “O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer?” (Ether 2:19)
- “Is this the right direction? If not, what would you have us change?”
The Lord is anxious to direct all who seek to do His will. The Lord will answer you, as well as those you lead, as you ask Him questions that allow Him to reveal His heart and mind.
Questions that invite self-assessment
Christlike leaders continually assess what they currently know and what they need to know, and they help others to do the same. They seek to know how the Lord can help them. Self-assessment questions invite the Holy Ghost to help us see things “as they really are and things as they really will be” (Jacob 4:13).
- “But, whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
- “What lack I yet?” (Matthew 19:20)
- “What would I need to change about my attitude, beliefs or effort to make this work?”
As we take time to self-assess, and help others to do the same, we open the door to personal revelation.
Questions that invite circumspection
Christlike leaders “walk circumspectly before God” (Helaman 15:5). Circumspect means being “careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequence,” according to Merriam-Webster. Questions are an essential tool in gathering multiple perspectives and information to help make wise decisions. They also invite everyone to contribute in finding solutions.
When people feel that they are contributing to a cause, they are more likely to engage and put forth the needed effort to bring a vision to pass.
Circumspection questions are especially important in working with youth and children. Whether it be ideas for a weekly activity or ideas on how to solve a problem in the home, trusting that the Lord has inspired His younger children to be part of a solution will give you confidence to seek their perspective and will, in turn, create miracles.
- “What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels?” (Ether 2:23)
- “Nephi, what beholdest thou?” (1 Nephi 11:14)
- “What are we not thinking about that we should be?”
As you improve your ability to ask inspired questions, you model for those you lead how to ask questions themselves, so they too can become Christlike leaders. With the help of the Holy Ghost, we can lovingly listen to those who lead us and to those we lead.
As we prayerfully invite the Lord to help us improve our ability to ask questions, we will continue to become more Christlike leaders in accomplishing the Lord’s work.