I did a podcast with the Mentionables. In it, Marc Lambert of Hey, Pastor, talked about how as a pastor he encourages people to ask questions. Too many pastors seem to shy away from questions or tell people to not ask them or to just have faith.
An attitude of not answering questions does no favors to anyone in your congregation if you’re a pastor. Someone who is questioning is someone who is wanting to learn. When your children go to school, you want them to ask the teacher questions so you can learn. Do you not want them to learn at church?
My wife has been looking into Orthodoxy lately. I’m not a big fan of it, but I do agree with something that the priest at the church said. Truth doesn’t need to be afraid to ask any questions. He’s absolutely right on that. No pastor should be afraid of questions.
“But Nick! What if they have a question I can’t answer? What then?!”
How about this? You go and say “Let’s find an answer together.” Do the research with them. Show them how it can be answered. You will not only help them answer the question, but you will teach them that it’s okay to ask and how to go about answering questions.
One of the big reasons people leave the church is unanswered questions. They then buy into the whole idea that faith is believing without evidence. This is a blatantly false idea, but it still gets around. Sadly, too many people who will read a Richard Dawkins saying this will have more than enough evidence from their Christian friends that this is exactly what it means.
I posted a link to the Mentionables above. They also do have a network pastors where you can find people in your area who are willing to answer questions. These people, like myself, aren’t big names yet and will likely jump at the chance to do any work and will have openings in their schedules. This means that if you really just can’t get around to doing this, there are people who you can find who will help out.
Apologetics if you’re a pastor should be part of your ministry. Consider giving a sermon. When you open up the text, would it kill you to give some of the historical background? Could you talk about the date of the text and who wrote it and why? Could you perhaps share any archaeological data that has been found?
You can still go and explain the text and give an application. It is not that hard. When my grandmother died, I was one of three people assigned to speak at her funeral. I had ten minutes. What did I do? I spent the first five minutes talking about the resurrection of Jesus and how we know it’s true. I spent the last five talking about what it meant for everyone there who is a believer, including my grandmother. It worked great. The message got a lot of positive response. That took just a few minutes.
The best church my wife and I ever went to had a program set up where during the sermon, you could text in a question that you have. The pastor would then come out at the end and answer questions. If a question required a greater response, he would make a vlog about it sometime during the week for people to watch. No one could leave that church saying questions were unwelcome.
Pastor. Please encourage the asking of questions. Refusing them only creates future atheists. If people want to learn about God, don’t deny them.