by Aaron Helman, Church Leaders
Today I’m sharing five very difficult ministry questions …
… because somewhere, sometime, someone is going to ask them.
That’s the wrong moment to realize you don’t have an answer.
Taking some time now to think about how you would respond …
… will come in handy when you have to respond.
(And it’s going to happen.)
There’s no excuse for being caught totally off guard by a totally predictable question.
Every now and again, you’ll get a question or problem that is impossible to anticipate. You’ll hesitate and stammer, and that’s okay.
But if you’ve been in youth ministry for more than five minutes, there are a few questions that you should expect and prepare for.
My goal for this post isn’t to instruct your theology or to give you answers.
Instead, I only hope you’ll take some time now to think so that you don’t trip over them when they happen spontaneously.
(However, if you’re looking for student-friendly answers I’d recommend Answers to Teenagers’ 50 Toughest Questions by my friend, Phil Bell.)
1. Any question about homosexuality.
Someone is going to ask these questions and probably pretty soon too.
Think about it, pray about it, and figure out your church’s position on the issue. You’ll want that information before you blurt out a hasty answer.
Think through how you’ll respond if and when a student comes out to you.
2. My (friend, grandmother, neighbor, coach) died and she wasn’t a Christian. Is she in hell?
Yep, we’re talking about heaven and hell.
That’s because your students are talking about it and they’re scared about it, usually more for others than themselves.
If you don’t talk about hell, your students will ask.
You’d better be ready with some kind of answer.
3. How far is too far?/Is it okay to date non-Christians?
Your personal (and church) theology will guide your answer to questions about sexuality and dating …
… but figure out how you’ll answer this question now so you don’t have to take 20 minutes to flesh it out in front of your JrHi small group.
4. Why does God allow suffering?
The question of evil, sin and suffering is always important to discuss. You don’t have to have a perfect answer, but knowing the basics will help.
5. Anything about creationism or evolution.
With both of these, it’s important to offer a response that is sensible, but doesn’t ramble.
The first time I got myself into a creationism debate, I think I spoke for 40 minutes, quoting Scripture and referencing science journals. At no point in time did I make any sense to that sixth grader.
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If you’ve been in ministry for more than three days, I’d love to have you share your opinion!
What are the most common tough questions you’ve dealt with?
What are the ones that you wish you would have been more prepared for?