Sunday, April 5, 2009

The need for Q&A

There is a vast need for Q&A! You need the enlightenment of Q&A if you counsel, if you preach, if you witness, if you teach children, youth and/or adults!
There are forms of ministry that uniquely prepare God's people for works of service, forms of ministry which are desperately needed for many today. One on one ministry, street ministry, counseling, and jail ministry to name a few. What's so different about these? The RULES!
In these ministries you don't always have the luxury of people sitting quietly, while you get through your message. In these forms of ministry, there's a LOT of interruptions, there's a lot of explaining to be done. Of course no one enjoys being interrupted and there are pitfalls that need to be avoided like: getting mad (don't let the enemy distract you), lying (if you don't know an answer just be honest and move on), and being sidetracked to the point of missing an opportunity for eternal matters.
Here's my sidetrack (jump down if you want to skip)
Let me first elaborate on this "sidetrack" issue: Get to the point! Natural is always the best, talk to people like you would talk to a friend, i mean be yourself. For instance: if you're thinking 'man, this is way of track here, this isn't what's most important, I'm so not helping this person', then naturally stress that, communicate that there's something infinitely better, speak and express eternal urgency! I suppose the two most often reasons for fruitless encounters and those who are more prone to being sidetracked (i say this mostly from personal experience): 1. Being TOO polite, you want to listen, you don't want to be rude, you don't want to be thought of as inconsiderate, you want to show that you care, BUT you aren't able to get in a word and your thinking 'i shouldn't have even spoke to this person, why is this happening?' REMEDY? You need to remember that things are NOT what they always seem, WHAT? Well is spanking your child love? Yes, does it seem like it to the child? NO!
Consider this, you see a girl after church, teary-eyed and popping pills. You go over to investigate and you discover that she wants to end her life, what do you do? I'll tell you what you wouldn't do, you wouldn't say 'sweety you'll be in my prayers' and walk away, you wouldn't say 'hey you wanna go to the latest teen movie together?', you wouldn't JUST POLITELY TRY to interrupt her while she's still popping pills, you'd become a very undignified wild-eyed PREACHER, you'd SMACK that pill bottle across the room and with tears streaming down your face, you might grab that girl by her shoulders and with much force PLEAD with this girl to listen, you'd plead for her to look to Christ, you'd tell her that's she's wrong, you'd attempt to get her eyes OFF the present and to look towards eternity, you'd allow NO sidetracks, because of the urgency!!! (yet don't you realize that this urgency is ALWAYS there?!)
Another cause for much fruitless distraction is pride, this might be more of a temptation that know a lot of stuff: you might be given some sidetrack question and you feel quite confident because you've studied this subject before, in fact it's NOTHING but pride when this type of questions keeping coming and you're thinking to yourself 'HA, I'm totally winning every argument, WOW just look at the shock on this guy's face, he hasn't stumped me yet!' RATHER then thinking 'OH, NO I got to get back to the cross, please Lord help me share the gospel with this guy!' Remember dear body of Christ the great commission is about going out among the world and sharing facts or even bible trivia, but PROCLAIMING the good news of Jesus Christ!
Ok so now BACK to the post, The need for Q&A!
There are a few remarkable preachers who handle a text in such a way that you leave without questions, but thinking WOW there's nothing i could have added to that or there's nothing that wasn't addressed; perhaps that's due to experience with people and an incredible ability to anticipate objections, but on the whole i still think that's quite rare.
Q&A brings clarity to the speaker of truth, it allows you to really see what a person's interpretation is. It gives you the ability to minister to them by clarifying faulty understanding, to elaborate on things that are confusing. You'd be surprised at what someone 'got' from a message or a passage of scripture, Q&A is a great tool to expose the deceptions of the heart. For the most part I was trained by teenagers in jail, who certainly weren't concerned about being polite and would immediately throw out their objections or thoughts, and often I'd be thinking 'how in the WORLD did they get that from what i just said', it taught me that often the words we take for granted as 'common' need clarification. This isn't just with teens, this is needed WITHIN the church, many believers don't have a proper understanding of biblical words. Words like, judge, justice, wrath, holiness, JESUS, grace, love, forgiveness, truth, sin, heaven, hell, among others, yes it's these simple words that need CONSTANT clarity, that need a scripturally based definition. I used to be in Churches where they had altar calls and usually when that doesn't work, you give one of those 'if you have any need come to the front for prayer' (which doesn't have to be wrong) and often i might pray with someone. Yet something dawned on me, here are some people that always come to the front for prayer, and usually all you do is ask 'what would you like me to pray with you about' and that week after week, month after month, year after year. What if what they need is a biblical answer to their problem, what if it's a sin issue that's not being confronted and they can't figure out why all these people praying for them doesn't seem to help. It's like the Dr asking you 'what would you like me to do for you', not 'tell me you problem', but you say 'isn't that the ministry of the Spirit?' Yes and that ministry is most often through people speaking His word!
There are some ministers, some people that desperately NEED to be thrown into situations where they HAVE to engage in Q&A and those are the people who are PRONE to be confusing, their children don't even understand them, they have no patience to explain, they just get through their message and get out as quick as possible.
Want some tips for EFFECTIVE children's and youth ministry?? Well apart from a solid local church edifying, Family Integrated Model: EXPOSITORY TEACHING with Q&A.
Keep in mind more often than not, children and teens need more time rather then less time in teaching and Q&A. Need some good material? Try breaking open one of the gospels and starting @ chapter 1 verse 1 and begin explaining-then after you feel comfortable open it up for questions (while discouraging debate and sidetracks) then wrap it up. This will benefit them and you, especially if you feel confident that you are understandable (Q&A is a good test), you will be amazed at the results!

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