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Pastors Can Be Friends with Church Members (and 4 Other Radical Ideas)

Don’t be so quick to assume that. I’ve actually learned many of the questions people have are serious questions.

It’s not that they are questioning the faithfulness of God, they are just trying to better understand how to answer their friends who say a loving God wouldn’t allow evil. Or perhaps they are curious about why churches have certain traditions, not because they demonize all traditions but would like to better understand why they are being followed.

What’s really cool for me to see as a pastor is people asking deep questions and finding deep answers that strengthen their faith in Christ. The process of personal discovery is an important part of that equation, more so than requiring people to simply check the box of a doctrinal statement. Perhaps the reason critical thinking is no longer a strength in our churches is because we’ve been telling people—quickly, of course—to shut up and just agree with us.

Plus, one of the most effective ways I share my faith now is through the process of asking questions (and I have Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism to thank for that!).

5. Invest in people! Invest in people! Invest in people! 

Maybe this goes without saying, but we are in the people business because we are in the God business. So there are two ways to think about our investing in people.

First, we need to invest in the people we serve. That means we need to be willing to meet with them about their marriages or parenting issues. If you can’t help, you need to try and point them in the direction where they can find help. Sometimes people will want to just talk about issues they are facing or questions they have (see above). In my mind, we need to be about investing in people, regardless of whether the return is for ourselves or not. Our investing needs to be about the kingdom.

Second, we need to invest in potential leaders and current leaders. I heard Phil Strout, the new National Director of the Vineyard Movement, a few months ago talk about the need to have six potential leaders in the pipeline in order to get one quality leader (I think he said he heard that from Ed Stetzer). To have some people in a “pipeline” is simply a way of saying if we want to develop leaders, we need to invest in them.  

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Luke Geraty has been lead pastor of Trinity Christian Fellowship for the past six years and is a member of the Society of Vineyard Scholars. Interested in missional theology within the rural context, Luke loves all things espresso, hockey, hip hop, and fly fishing (what a weird combo!). He and his wife have four children. He blogs regularly at ThinkTheology.org.