Change the question...

Dare to ask different questions

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 02:24 AM PDT

by Stephan Joubert

The questions you ask determine the answers you expect. Certain questions nearly always presuppose failure. I realised this when I recently came across a list of accountability questions of one particular ministry: “What sin plagued your walk with God this week? Is your thought life pure? Did you look at a woman in the wrong way? Are you walking in total obedience to God? Have you lied about any of the previous questions?” If you dare say that you don't struggle with issues such as these, you would surely be branded as spiritually arrogant. Failure is thus inherent.

Similar types of questions keep many people in church trapped in feelings of guilt and spiritual mediocrity: “How can we get more younger/older people involved in our ministry? How do we get more money to fund our church projects? Where do we find a competent pastor or church leaders? Why do we experience so few miracles in our church? Why is there no revival? How can we get more life into our congregation?”

We mayask questions like these from time to time. The problem, however, is that these questions are often the only ones that get recycled in church. They presume predictable answers. In other words, we just need the right spiritual programs/prayers/pastors/leaders/ small groups/Bible studies to fix the problems that gave rise to these questions! However, when these mechanical solutions don't fix existing problems, which is the case most of the time, the same old questions will be asked all over again. Same old, same old!

The solution is to ask entirely different questions. We need fresh new questions that don't cripple us or enhance constant feelings of failure or cause us to play that never ending game of blame shifting. We need questions such as the following: “What commitment does it ask of you to be a fulltime follower of Jesus? What do you sacrifice in terms of personal time, energy, money to be an active member of your community of faith? What are you presently doing to address what you think is wrong with church? What spiritual gifts do you bring to your church and to others around you? What new stories of Christ's involvement in your life do you share with others? What relationships are you currently growing with unchurched people? For which persons are you praying by name? In whose lives are you involved to help and bless them financially?

New questions that focus on our personal involvement in the kingdom of God are urgently needed.

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