Are you looking for a good way to get to know your students or those to whom you minister? Here’s a quick and simple way to get a glimpse into the heart and cause someone to think more deeply.
Two weeks ago, in our 12th grade Sunday school class and at our Single Life retreat, we did a short assignment that really helped me understand where the students are in their hearts and on their spiritual journeys. It’s an easy exercise but informing, and it causes someone to pause and take inventory spiritually.
We handed out a blank sheet of paper in class and asked each student to answer the following three questions:
1. What Has God Been Teaching Me Lately?
Step back and survey the things you’ve heard from God’s Word, the choices you’ve made, and the circumstances you’re facing and simply ask, “What is God saying to me in all of this?” Anybody with even a slightly sensitive heart will be able to answer this question in a matter of moments. This is always a very valuable thought process. Take it a step further and ask, “How are you responding? Are you doing anything with what God is saying to you?”
2. What Are My Goals for the Next 12 Months?
Fast forward the DVD of your life to 12 months from now. What would you like to see accomplished? What is your vision (the less tangible direction) and what are your goals (the tangible steps to achieve your vision)? I asked them to list three to five things they would like to see happen on a practical level in the coming year.
3. What Are My Dreams for the Next 5 to 10 Years?
Ten years from now, where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing? What has God placed on your heart as a long-term direction. God’s will is a good start, but dig deeper. What do you hope God’s will includes?
The practical uses of this simple exercise are many. First, these are great questions to ask yourself, your spouse, or your family. Second, they work well in a variety of ministry contexts where you are trying to understand the hearts and desires of people. I have greatly enjoyed reading what our 12th graders and singles wrote down on their pages, and I have a much better understanding of how to pray for them in the coming months.
As a follow up for the seniors, I wrote them a letter and returned their pages to them. I also sent it to their parents with an encouraging letter. Then I typed up their goals and placed it into my files where I can pray for them over the year.