Thursday, July 08, 2010

Book Review: What Would Jesus Ask? by Paul Welter

I don’t think I would ever have heard of this book except for the fact that it was written by a friend’s grandfather. But I’m glad it was written by my friend’s grandfather, because I think it’s a lovely book with a lovely concept. Welter’s basic thesis is that the best way motivate people to make moral/spiritual changes in their lives is by asking a question that convinces them they already know the truth of what they should do and motivates them to action. He bases this on the fact that when we look at how Jesus inspired change, it was mostly by asking a question. A single question. A pointed question. An effective question. A question that got to the core of the person’s dilemma and helped them see what they already knew to be the truth. A question that caused them to act on this truth. And so, as followers of Jesus, if we want to “counsel” others as He did, we should use this method. What a revolutionary idea! 

After laying out in a bit more detail what the “Jesus Method” (as he calls it) is, Welter shows the various ways Jesus used this method- by surprising and shocking his listeners, by listening carefully and asking a question, by combining a story or metaphor with a question, by reproving or rebuking, and by healing and questioning. He gives examples from scripture of each of these and then applies them to potential scenarios in our lives. The final chapters expand upon various ways of applying the Jesus Method- in groups, in one-on-one counseling, in teaching, etc. There are great examples, lists of questions for various kinds of situations, and practical ways to implement this “method.” 

While I think I would much rather have been told this than read about it, and while I didn’t particularly connect with his style of writing, I really like (and agree with) the concept. I all too often try to persuade or convince people of what they need to do, and probably don’t listen half as well as I should, and after reading this book I’m pretty well convinced that there are decidedly better ways to inspire change in people. 

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