“It’s not doubt that is toxic, but unexpressed or unexplored doubt that is toxic.” – Kara Powell, Fuller Youth Instatute
We just finished up a series called YOU ASKED FOR IT where we collected questions from our students, grouped them together based on which ones were asked the most, and then spent 4 weeks going through them and answering them.
I won’t lie, it was pretty great. It’s amazing what questions students were asking. These were not basic Bible knowledge (granted, some were) but there were so many deep theological questions our students are wrestling with. There were lots of questions about doubt, pressures, anxiety, fear, relationships, sexuality etc and it really was incredible reading through them.
I think the church should be the safest place where students can ask real, authentic questions and not feel ashamed of them where they can be met with real, authentic, Biblical answers.
The way we set up the whole series was pretty easy. Here are some of my thoughts as I look back:
- All of the month of January we said we are going to answer any question you have ever wondered about faith, life, the Bible, Christianity, doubts, whatever. If you have ever wondered it, ask it.
- We used the system Remind.com (free and easy way to send out texts to your group, parents, leaders etc) and had them sign up and then start asking questions.
- We spent the next few weeks collecting questions and categorizing them. Basically, if a question was being asked more than once, those moved to the top in our google spreadsheet.
- We used the book (specifically chapter 4) Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme to set up the basis in which we would be viewing the answers. It was comparing the world moral code vs Christ’s moral code. Really good stuff.
- Each week we would have a panel of different people to get different answers and views and perspectives. We thought it would be very important to get different genders, ages, marital statuses etc. We had our student pastors, interns, some volunteers, different pastors on staff who oversaw women’s, men’s, Starting Point and more. It’s a great way to get some other people on your staff to come see how things are going in student ministry too.
- We liked this format because questions were screened. No weird or trying to be funny questions. No kid would stand up and ask “What does God think about butt-sex?” (No joke, it happened. The whole crowd lost it. He was dared by his friends to do it and thereby solidified why I won’t do open mic questions again HA!)
- I was able to pick 6-7 questions a night and sent it out to the panel beforehand so they had time to prepare answers and thoughts and then the night of I would throw it to who I know had good answers.
- It was a great change of pace from a “normal” service. Seemed to fit what we were doing well.
- Students brought friends. We would post what questions we were going to be answering on social media and they would talk or invite friends who maybe have asked them the same questions. It was really fun to see.
- We have a couple of one-offs through the year and we are going to come back to these questions and answer them.
- You can see our services and questions HERE
Hope this is helpful.