Listen to Each Other 

September 18, 2018

Community can be created through shared experiences and deepening connections. We share many experiences together at church, but how often do we connect deeply and personally about what church means to us? I spend most of my coffee-hour time chatting with folks and answering the question, ‘How are you?’ with a list of what I’m doing instead of how I'm doing.

In his book Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, author Tod Bolsinger described a tactic he and his church elders used to learn more about their congregation. Through a series of person-to-person interviews, each person was asked three questions and the interviewer collected their answers. Church leaders listened for ‘the song beneath the words’ (interpreting patterns in the feedback) and gained perspective on the church as they identified themes and threads in the answers they received. When I read that section of the book, I immediately thought this project could be adapted for Plymouth — as a tool to collect data for church leadership and as a way for folks at Plymouth to connect deeply with each other about important stuff. It’s an invitation to thoughtful deep sharing, which I hope can create new connections and deepen our faith. 

Homecoming Sunday, I dropped by the Middle Youth Forum (MYF) room and interviewed them on three questions I adapted for Plymouth from Canoeing the Mountains. Last Sunday, MYF students took those questions and interviewed three adults after worship. Our high school YF group will also participate in answering these three questions. Hearing perspectives of our middle and high school students is important to me. I hope the interview process allows them to connect more deeply to each other and the Plymouth community. 

If you’d like to be involved in the interview process, forms are available on the Welcome table the next two Sundays (9/23 and 9/30). Take a form and pen and interview someone! Then ask them to interview you. Place completed forms back on the Welcome table and I’ll type up answers. This project is open beyond the church walls. Is there someone you want to connect with, perhaps someone you’ve missed recently or want to know better? Make a call, set up coffee-time and interview each other using these three questions: 

  1. When were you most excited or felt the sense of deepest connection to our church, and, what was going on in your life and in the life of the church? 
  2. What is one wish/hope/dream you have for the future of Plymouth? 
  3. How has Plymouth transformed you so that you can transform the world?

Turn in your answers to Plymouth office, or go to, add your answers and read answers from others. Thanks Plymouth! – Kyna Grace Shilling

Topics: Church Life



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