Answering the Right Questions

Have you ever heard a sermon that drudged on with rehashed blither no one really cared to hear about? We want sermons to be impacting, but often they don’t pack a punch. If people come to worship looking for spiritual insight, but leave none the wiser something has gone awry. In today’s world there is an increasingly spiritual hunger. People are looking for answers.

Perhaps the problem is that we who are church leaders are not asking the right questions.

Kevin Kelly talks about the concept of never asked questions. He highlights how a product FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) can become an NAQ (Never Asked Questions.)  Instead of offering real answers, they become marketing attempts to push more drivel. If you look at the FAQ you’ll find answers, but in reality they are answers to questions no one is asking.

Does the same thing ever happen with sermon content?

Perry Noble has an upcoming series that I am extremely intrigued about. To get through the dip of irrelevant information and find out what people really wanted to know, Perry simply asked them.

He writes,

Back in April we asked people to submit questions that have about life, the Bible, God…and anything else and the response was tremendous. After going through hundreds and hundreds of questions we then categorized them into the 18 most asked about topics and then set up a website where people could vote on their top pick.

Mark Driscoll kicked off 2008 with a similar series.

Although these are very high tech approaches that utilize the best of web 2.0 goodness, other more low tech approaches can also be effective. CFC, my church in Evansville, did a series entitled, Questions You Want to Ask God. They handed out 3×5 note cards on Sunday mornings for a few weeks and had people write down their questions. (Note the similarity in topics that came up: CFC and Marshill both asked “Why is there Evil?” and CFC and NewSpring both asked about sexual sin and salvation.)

Admittedly, the Evansville series does lack in comparison to the other churches. By limiting your sample to church people you are also limiting the response and the potential interest in the series. By offering a website for anyone to interact on Driscoll and Nobel reached a large, diverse group of people who then became emotionally invested in a series they helped to produce.

As church leaders it’s easy to become isolated and insulated to what goes on in the real world. It seems that if we want to answer the right questions, then we need to find some real world people and ask them,

What are the questions you have?


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