How can we use questioning to better connect with others?

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. 

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About the Author

Journalist and speaker Warren Berger realized that the majority of successful creatives and entrepreneurs he was interviewing over the years were great questioners. His wondering about "How can we all learn to do what they do?” led to this website and the writing of his latest book, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION. Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts here.

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