One of the best things I’ve learned from my friend and mentor Jim Wideman is the art of asking questions. I’ve learned that he is always asking questions and he has an expectation that other people are asking questions of him. The quickest way to disappoint him is to spend an hour with him and not asking anything.

I learned how the art of asking questions can completely transform your conference going experience. This week I’ll be at the Orange conference where over 6000 of the greatest leaders in ministry will be in one place. Sure, I’ll learn a lot by just being there. General sessions, breakouts and conversations along the way will be very informative, but if you think about it this is a very passive way to learn at a conference. A very important discipline is to ask yourself the question, “what do I want to learn this week? What answers or solutions do I need?” Chances are, the answers you’re looking for are everywhere around you, you just have to ask.

Last year I came to orange with two main questions, “how do I develop a dynamic large group environment for elementary kids and what is the most efficient way to structure my staff?” I found my answers and this year I come to orange with a different looking staff and I’m proud to say that we’ve built an incredible and beautiful elementary large group environment… Both solutions came with the cost but I’m where I am today because of the questions I asked.

This year I’m coming to Orange with questions about measurement. How do you really define success? I believe it’s more than just attendance and baptisms. What things should I be measuring that I haven’t even thought of that might impact families in a significant way?

What about you? What answers and solutions are you trying to find? Where are you asking these questions?