I was sitting in Starbucks the other day, reading “The New Faithful” by Colleen Carroll, and noticed a job interview happening at a table across the cafe from me. This made me think about the number of job interviews I'd seen happening there since I moved to St. Louis-- every time I walk into a Starbucks store, someone's trying to get a job, either at the store, or meeting an interviewer at this convenient place.
The purpose of a job interview is to find out how well the person applying will fit in and what he/she will contribute to the company. One tactic that interviewers use all the time is asking challenging or tricky questions, trying to find out how well people think on their feet or how much they know. After the interview, the applicant will have an idea of where he's a strong choice for the job, and a set of weaknesses she can work on before the next meeting.
It made me think about how useful it might be to hold spiritual interviews with students once in a while, to directly ask questions about faith that check what students know and give them some things to think about afterward. The idea wouldn't be to put pressure on students to come up with certain answers, but to see where they're at and help us figure out how to help them more precisely. Greg Stier's “Ministry Mutiny” has an idea like this; that's another spark source for me on this one.
These are some useful questions for a spiritual life interview:
When you go to worship, what part of the service do you most look forward to?
If God had a message to give you right now, what medium (music, people, words, etc.) would He use to deliver it?
When you need to make a big decision, what steps do you take to discern what God wants you to choose?
How do they make M&Ms? (That's an actual interview question, designed to check creativity. Throw it in just for fun.)
What spiritual practices give you strength when you're tempted?
Talk about the times this year when you've been the highest and lowest, spiritually. Where was God in both of those places?
Sometimes we can get these things to come up in conversation. But I also think there's a place for a planned check-in.