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One-to-One Conversation Starters

Read the previous blog post about BIC's Listening Season.

A little about One-to-One Conversations

Simply put, a One-to-One is a meeting between two people who are interested in getting to know one another. Half of the conversation is spent asking questions and listening to the other person, then the focus shifts and you share about your story.

It is Common

because it is a conversation that takes place out of our own curiosity about one another’s stories,

It is Unique

because it has an objective that is bigger than ourselves and requires active listening.

It is Not:

A date or an expectation that a friendship will result. Friendships may develop naturally, but the initial conversation is two brothers and sisters in Christ that are interested in strengthening BIC’s identity and clarity about where God is calling us.

Helpful Printables:

This is a PDF of the conversation starters that are (also) included below.

Use this sheet after a One-to-One to write down the main ideas that came out of the conversation.

What is the goal?

These conversations are an opportunity to get to know each other beyond surface level conversation, to slow down and listen actively to one another’s stories.

Some Questions to Get You Started

  • How did you end up at BIC? What keeps drawing you back to this community?
  • Have you always been a part of a church community?
  • What was it like to grow up where you are from?
  • What breaks your heart when you see it out in the world? In your home? At BIC?
  • What is most of your time spent doing? Does it drain you, or feed/motivate you?
  • How did you end up doing the work that you currently do? What other jobs and hobbies have you had?
  • What is the most frequent stressor in your life right now? How does that influence you?
  • Where/when do you laugh the most?
  • What activities, people, or places allow you to feel free and relaxed?
  • How would you describe your relationship with God?
  • Where do you hear and feel God? What feeds your faith?
  • Where do you feel or see yourself called by God?

These questions are a place to start, not a requirement

Stories share much more than specific answers to questions, so start here, have fun, and let the conversation go where it leads. Ask for clarification in questions like Why? How? What was that like?, etc.


Our community is made up of wonderful, diverse, interesting, warm, loving people. This is hopefully an opportunity to enrich BIC and our individual lives.



BIC's Listening Season Basics

What is a “Listening Season”?

A listening season is a time to intentionally listen to...

  • God together in worship, Bible study, and prayer, as well as in our individual lives of faith.
  • One another which we will do as we have conversations with each other called “one-to-ones.”
  • The broader community which we will decide when and how we want to do at the conclusion of our listening to one another, first strengthening the bonds within BIC.

Read more about One-to-One Conversations and how to participate.

What is the purpose or goal of our Listening Season?

To deepen relationships within our community at BIC and to learn...

  • Who are we? Who makes up this community that God has drawn together from all over the world?
  • What gifts are present within BIC
  • What stress, pressure, and pain is present within BIC
  • What brings us joy and relief from those pressures
  • What feeds our faith
  • How/where is God calling us? What are our hopes and dreams for our church, our families, our community? What are God’s?

God may be calling us to look inward to…

  • Share our gifts within BIC
  • Pray and support one another in our pressures
  • Join one another in the things that feed our faith
  • Celebrate life together doing what brings us joy

God may be calling us to look outward to…

  • Use what we have learned about ourselves to be of service to God’s people
  • Listen to the broader community’s needs
  • And only God knows what other possibilities!

What will we do with what we learn?

We'll find out in our “What Now?” conversation where...

  • The core group will present common themes
  • We will prayerfully brainstorm how we would like to act on the information that we have learned about who we are and where God is calling us.

Listening Season Core Group:

Kathleen Parks, Aaron Silco, Larry Stone, Pr. Gail Mundt, and Intern Pastor Dominique Buchholz

Adopted from One-to-One Relational Meetings, prepared by Sue Engh, Program Director for Congregation-Based Organizing at the ELCA


History of Bratislava International Church


History of Bratislava International Church

The Bratislava International Church owes its origins to the re-opening of the Evangelical Lyceum (Lutheran High School).

That school, whose history goes back to 1606, was closed during the communist era and re-opened in September of 1991 as a bilingual Slovak-English institution. The Lutheran Church in Slovakia asked the Lutheran Churches in the United States to provide volunteer English teachers to help with this new start.


Our Beginnings

Leadership: Schock, Swanson, Sorensen

At first informal worship services were held at the school primarily for the teachers and interested students. In 1994 Pastors Twila Schock and William Swanson and Associate in Ministry Lynnae Sorensen were called to further develop the religion department and to establish a regular worshiping congregation. There was an early desire to expand the concept of the congregation to include not just American teachers, but the larger English-language expatriate community in Bratislava. The Slovak Lutheran congregation in Bratislava offered the use of the historic Malý Kostol (Little Church) as a regular worship space. This Baroque style building was constructed in 1777 and is a truly international setting. Every Sunday morning, in addition to the English language worship, there is a German service, and a Hungarian service. At the same time a Slovak service is taking place at the Veľký Kostol (“Big Church") next door. Slovak, German, and Hungarian reflect the tri-lingual history of the city going back hundreds of years.



Leadership: Hanson, Sorum

Pastors Schock and Swanson served the newly developed English congregation until 1997, at which time they were called to serve the International Protestant Chaplaincy in Moscow. That same year Pastor Paul K. Hanson was called to the position of pastor of the congregation, and served Bratislava International Church until his retirement in 2004. During Pastor Hanson’s tenure Pastor Ann Sorum was called to serve the congregation as Associate Pastor. She served until July of 2006, when she returned to the United States.



Leadership: Schick, Auchenbach

Pastor David Schick served the congregation from October 2004 to July 2009. Pastor Schick also continued the tradition of pastors in this congregation’s past by working simultaneously as a professor of religion at the Evangelical Lýceum. One more change in pastoral leadership took place in September 2006, when Pastor Josh Auchenbach stepped into the position of Associate Pastor of the congregation.



Leadership: Haug

From 2009 to the beginning of 2012, Pastor Arden Haug, originally from Minnesota, served the congregation. Pastor Haug also served, and continues to serve now, as the ELCA's Regional Representative to Europe.



Leadership: Schmidt

In February 2012, Pastor Miriam Schmidt, originally from New York City, was installed as the congregation's new pastor. Pastor Schmidt came to Slovakia from western Montana, where she served as a congregational pastor in Plains. Here in Bratislava, Pastor Schmidt's additional role is to be the Coordinator of the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Mission Program in Central Europe, whose emphasis is ministry to the Roma communities living in Hungary and Slovakia.


2015 and Forward

Leadership: The Mundts

In October of 2015, Pastors Randy and Gail Mundt, from Colorado, were installed at BIC. They work at the Evangelical Lýceum as pastors in the past have also done. They have a love for international ministry and as recently as 6 years ago they served an international congregation in Vienna. 2015 brings new questions about what it means to live internationally while there is a refugee crisis. We continue to grow and evolve as a congregation and our story is just beginning.