finding meaning in the mundane

Asking The Right Questions: An Interview with J.R. Briggs

Questions take us in all different directions. They impact the flow of our conversations, as well as our relationships. Think about some of the most important questions that you have ever been asked? How have they shaped you?


J.R. Briggs is a brilliant question asker.  He asks some of the most poignant questions I have ever been asked before in my life.  Too often we ask simple questions like, “How is your day?”, or “What’s going on?”  Those questions are pregnant with possibility, yet we answer them with the words, fine, good, or okay.  Clearly we didn’t ask the right question!

Here are a few awesome quotes from my interview with J.R. Briggs:

Asking good questions mean we are caring for people well.

Questions take us in all sorts of directions, and can really be the neck muscles that can turn our heads to pay attention to look in different directions.

Asking great questions is one of the best forms of teaching in an information saturated world.

When the right questions are asked at the right time, in the right setting, to the right person, life change can totally happen.

He points out that there are two primary types of questions, informational questions and incisive questions. There is a time and a place to ask either one.  Check out this interview to hear more about the value of asking great questions.  Asking the right questions, the great questions, will impact your relationships with others.

What has been the most impactful question that you have ever been asked before?


Asking Great QuestionsJ.R. Briggs serves as Cultural Cultivator of The Renew Community a Jesus community for skeptics and dreamers in Lansdale, PA – a suburb of Philadelphia, which he helped start. He is the founder of Kairos Partnerships an initiative that partners with leaders, pastors and church planters during significant kairos moments in ministry. As part of his time with Kairos Partnerships, he serves on staff with The Ecclesia Network and Fresh Expressions U.S. and coaches leaders, pastors and church planters across the country.

He is the creator and curator of the Epic Fail Pastors Conference, which helps pastors embrace failure and grow to see failure as an invitation to growth and an opportunity for grace and healing, instead of shame. He is currently working on a book project with InterVarsity Press tentatively titled The Epic Fail Pastor,which will be out in lat 2013 or early 2014. 

J.R. and his wife Megan have two sons, Carter and Bennett along with a pet goldfish named Goldwater Fitzpatrick (but affectionally refer to him as Goldie). They live in the heart of gritty Lansdale, PA.


  1. Joshua Hathaway

    October 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for the Interview Pete! J.R is a smart dude! Love this idea of asking the RIGHT question. I definitely tend to ask the questions that are open ended and do not lead the conversation in a direction. I think the reason is because in those case’s I’m thinking about the next thing on the check list. I need to stop, think, invest, and ask the questions that lead. Thanks for the challenge today!

    • pgowesky

      October 25, 2013 at 6:09 am

      I’d love to hear some of your great questions Josh… J.R. is definitely a smart dude. I try to learn all I can from him!

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