Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

One Question: 3 Game Changing Responses

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From Jeremy: This is a guest post from Nathan Rouse. He is the lead pastor of Raleigh Christian Community Church. You can find him on twitter: @NathanRouse and check out his blog here at:

With those I lead, my words carry a lot of weight. With these weighty words I’ve blown it and crushed people, and on other occasions by God’s grace I’ve brought healing.

But, I’ve found that some of the most intimate and helpful words that I’ve given to others come in the form of a question.

Would you share your story with me?

photo by Thomas Hawk (Creative Commons)

Let me give you 3 reasons why I’ve found this question to be a relational game changer:

1. It tells the person that you desire to truly know who they are.

Believe it or not people aren’t asking each other this question. I’m continually amazed how our conversations, even with those we call close friends, tend to stay on the surface. So when you ask someone this question it’s like a breath of fresh air.

In essence you’re saying, “You’re valuable and I want to know who you are.”

2. It says, “I’m not the focus right now, you are.”

As leaders if we’re not intentional about putting the focus off ourselves and onto others, there will be many who will inherently make our conversations about us and our priorities for them. We need to be able to turn the tables and get back into their world and make the focus about them.

This isn’t a leadership gimmick that seeks to make people think we really care. A leader who is worth his or her salt actually cares about those they lead.

3. It says, “I’ve got time for you.”

In a society that has pushed out all margin for relationships, people rarely “go there” with others around them. Turning to someone and asking to hear their story speaks volumes in regards to them being the priority in that moment.

As a pastor that’s leading a growing church, I have countless people who start their conversations with me with this phrase, “I know you’re busy, but.” People automatically assume about themselves and others that we just don’t have time.

Asking this question about their life’s journey gently encourages them that you do have and want time with them.

Life isn’t done in a vacuum. It’s best lived with people. Someone that will share their story with you has given you a priceless gift. Seize it.

Do you ever ask to hear the stories of others? How do you create relational moments with the people in your life?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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6 Replies

  1. I love hearing other people’s stories. It sheds a whole new light on situations. 

    Working with a youth group, it’s amazing the stories that they’re willing to share. Triumphs, defeat, abuse, love, hate. You get to the heart of who they are.

  2. Listening to people’s stories is one of my favourite activities, I feel so honoured to hear what they have to say.  Your right hearing someone’s story is a priceless gift.  I recently finished writing a short piece on my friend’s story, and I was blown away, by what he shared with me as writer, and how willing he was to share it.  Great post Nathan thank you.

    Thank you Jeremy for the introduction to Nathan’s work.

  3. I LOVE hearing the journey other people have taken.   The one thing I’ve learned about sharing stories is that no matter how different they are…there always seems to be a common thread that we can relate to.  I love that.   

  4. We all have our stories to share, that we are desperately wanting to tell.  Inviting others to share their story is so simple and powerful.  Thanks for this reminder.

    Great to see Nathan’s content spreading

  5. I love this. So much can be communicated in just a few words. Having just moved to a new city, I’m going to be meeting a lot of new faces, and I’ll be equipped with this question.

  6. Great post, Nathan. People are often shocked when you ask them this, because they are not used to anyone actually wanting to know. Great advice!

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