Q & A

Have you ever wanted to question a statement a speaker has made, sometimes controversial, but had no practical opportunity especially when spoken from a church pulpit? Although the urge is there, decorum dictates that the speaker not be interrupted so the immediate opportunity is lost.  
Then too, not many preachers have time following a service to address questions because they are often pressed with expected pastoral duties by departing parishioners. Admittedly an appointment could be made but the context of the occasion and the spontaneity of the moment is generally lost with delay.
Maybe some speakers would rather avoid such  interactions because of time constraints  and, too, the issue, perhaps controversial, might not  be appropriately addressed  in such a public  venue,  Also speakers might be hesitant to address forthrightly the question with, “I don’t know the answer.”
At one local church, the issue was discussed and the minister, with post graduate degrees, accepted the challenge and agreed to address the questioning in a somewhat abbreviated session immediately after the worship service.  He specifically drew the line between the two stating that the sermon had priority always.
So what insights can he impart in ten minutes?  Well it depends, of course, on the question.  Some queries might be answered with a brief statement while others might require considerably more time and addressed with the caveat that further discussion would require far more time privately.
For those speakers who are convinced in their stated comments, the session is an opportunity to further reinforce their stand on the declared topic.  For others who are on thin ice theologically, the question might be met with uncomfortable dread.
Is the pastor always clear in his comments and do you agree with what he says?  There are some church leaders who, like the Pope, are thought to be connected with the Almighty and who would be greatly offended should anyone dare question his/her stand on issues.  In that case, perhaps another church address would be appropriate.
Now this practice is not without its problems.  It is entirely possible that there might be some participants who might use this opportunity as a forum to espouse his/her own narrow agenda albeit one opposed to conventional understanding. This would take a moderator who could control the discussion by guiding the discussion in a positive way or have a question screening process.
This might not work in some congregations, especially in churches who operate under strong pastoral authority.   Too, those with large memberships might not find this practical; in small settings, it has promise.
At least it’s worth a try.  
*
Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547