“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV)
The story of the Magi has been the inspiration of many Christmas decorations, songs, and even the tradition of gift giving. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh given in the stable are highlights of Christmas celebrations and traditions around the world. And yet, it’s in the midst of this story we find a deeper insight. We find the very first seekers. Those who were known as wise, well read, students of the scriptures and even the stars. There is a word that best describes these Magi from the east, curious.
It is in this same lineage that we find many around the world today. Those who have not yet heard about Jesus, but know that there must be something more to this life. Those who have heard about Jesus, but still haven’t decided what to do with that information. Those who grew up around faith, but have rejected the Gospel message. All of these people have different specific needs, but at the heart of the issue, they are all in need of the greatest answer to their questions – Jesus. We must create cultures within our organization that seek to cultivate curiosity around Jesus. We must offer opportunities for them to seek and discover the baby in the manger for themselves. With this in the forefront of our minds, let us consider 2 simple steps to creating a seeker-centric culture.
1. Stay Curious Yourself
There is nothing quite like being near someone who has recently surrendered their life to Jesus. The excitement that they have is infectious. They are filled with wonder and awe about why God would freely give them the gift of grace, found in the death and resurrection of Jesus. They are quick to tell others about their experience and about what God has done to transform their life. They have an insatiable hunger and thirst to learn more about the scriptures, prayer, and Jesus. They are more curious about faith in this moment than nearly any other time in their life.
You can probably remember when this was your story. When you first heard the Good News of Jesus, and the new life offered through him. You can probably picture your baptism, your first Bible, and your first moments walking with Jesus. You can probably think back to the questions and the curiosity that led to you seeking out this moment. And yet, as the years go by, sometimes these memories seem to fade. Working in ministry can be incredibly life giving, but it can also take much of that initial joy and excitement out of your everyday life.
Before we reach out to those seeking Jesus, we must rekindle this curiosity within ourselves and within our organizations. Like the church in Ephesus, written from John in Revelation 2, we must not forsake our first love. We must stoke the fires of curiosity, seeking Jesus with the same passion that we had in our first moments of faith. One of the greatest ways to do this is by sharing stories of what Jesus has done recently in our lives. Your culture is shaped by what you celebrate and so you must build into the fabric of the organization the celebration of these moments. At your next staff gathering, spend 5-10 minutes sharing what God has done in the lives of your team, and see how it cultivates curiosity.
2. Ask Great Questions
The Magi are introduced to us as those who ask great questions. Their curiosity is on display as they search for this king. And their hearts are filled with joy as the answers to these questions are revealed. The heart of a seeker is that they are filled with questions. Questions about life. Questions about faith. Questions about God. They are seeking ways to answer these questions by asking more questions.
There is an art to asking great questions. Not surprisingly, this art is found most powerfully in a culture of curiosity. As a leader within your organization, you shape your culture not only by the answers that you give, but as often by the questions that you ask. A genuine interest in your team is seen most clearly in the questions that you ask. An invitation for other’s input and insight is only visible when a great question is asked. You will shape the curiosity within your culture through these questions. Setting the tone that we are an organization that asks great questions is no small feat. We are often prone to simply giving answers far quicker than asking follow up questions. The problem is that we serve those who are seeking by using questions. It is only by embracing this same posture that we will be able to serve them at the highest capacity.
Jesus himself modeled this for us. Often in his interactions with people he would ask them a question. It is striking that more than once Jesus asked someone with an obvious physical ailment, “What do you want?” Within this question Jesus was cultivating deeper curiosity. He also genuinely wanted to know the needs of those he served. In order to serve seekers well, we must lead with questions. In your next staff interaction, consider what question that you might ask before you think about the answer that you want to give.
Cultivating Curiosity with your team will not happen by accident. It is your job to serve and lead your team well through staying curious yourself and asking great questions. Just like the Magi, we are called to be wise within our organizations and lead our teams into greater curiosity. Let us cultivate this culture as we continue to build ministries that shine like the Christmas star in the sky. Let that light shine above the place where the Child King lay. So that many may come to seek and be saved.
Guest Post by Media Impact International (MII)
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