As a pastor of a bible church in a drug-riddled Philadelphia neighborhood known as the Badlands, Joel Van Dyke was determined to reach the youth of that community—but for years had no luck figuring out how to do so. Then, after stumbling upon the e. e. cummings line about “beautiful questions,” Van Dyke decided to use questioning as an outreach tool. Instead of trying to tell local youths that he knew what they needed, “I decided to ask, “What would you do to reach yourself?” His willingness to immerse himself in the community and ask that question led to a surprising conversation. Community youths (including gang leaders) told him they desperately wanted a place to play handball, but had been locked out of the local facilities. “Throw a big handball tournament,” they told Van Dyke, “and we’ll bring all our friends.” Van Dyke’s church went on to sponsor four tournaments a year, which also provided a venue to share the ministry’s message.
A few Question quotes
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