Equipping people to live more fully on God’s mission can be challenging sometimes. For many, it’s such a new way of approaching ‘church’ that they don’t have the language or concepts from which to relate. To borrow a term from Alan Roxburgh, they don’t have the map necessary to to navigate that transition. The church (institution and history) has been a known constant in their lives, and the ease of being in ‘church mode’ has been something they’ve come to depend on. Asking them to shift to missional living can be a bit more tricky, there can be the unknown and the unforeseen that can seem scary.
The doubt and questions start out almost right away.
But what if….?
But what if they ask questions I don’t know the answer to?
It’s not our absence of fear or doubt that makes us good Jesus followers, but our faithful living in the midst of doubt and fear that models to the world the power of the resurrected Jesus.
But what if they’re struggling with something hard and I don’t know how to handle it?
But what if they aren’t open to accepting Jesus?
These questions arise, because the current attractional church culture has trained the average church member that the pastor has all the right answers. We’ve trained them that the difficult circumstances in life can only be handled by the ‘professionals.’ Sorry, but it’s not true.
Part of making a transition to a missional living, not only personally but corporately, is letting people ask these questions and train them to live in that tension.
Chances are, they will come up to a situation that they don’t know how to handle, there will be questions that they can’t answer, and they will meet people that don’t want to follow Jesus. I have those situations on a weekly basis.
And that’s okay.
It’s even more vital that we encourage and equip people to live in those moments of doubt and fear. It’s not our absence of fear or doubt that makes us good Jesus followers, but our faithful living in the midst of doubt and fear that models to the world the power of the resurrected Jesus.
Allowing others room to doubt, fear, and question can be a helpful demonstration not only of our own times of doubt, fear, and questioning; but of the assurance of God’s love, grace, and provision.
So what do you do when someone asks a question that you can’t answer? Be honest with them. That’s a great question, and I don’t have a good and immediate answer for you. I’ll do my best to find out and in the meantime I’ll be praying for you.
What about when someone has a tough situation that you don’t know how to handle? I’m really sorry you’re going through this. I’ll be here for you if you ever need me, please let me know what I can do to help.
Faithfully living where God calls us isn’t about having all of the answers, but having faith in the one is moving creating forward to completion. Missional living isn’t about knowing it all or being above doubt and fear, but about demonstrating the love and grace we receive from God and the comfort that that gives us.
I know you have some thoughts, and I’d love to hear them: leave them below in the comments.