Friday, September 21, 2007


I must confess that in my most frustrated times in ministry, I have turned for solace to the job listings at, or, or, or even the illustrious list put together by that dude Craig.

Sometimes, (staring at those job postings with their qualifications and prerequisites, and those churches with their programs and statements of faith) I wonder if I could, with any intellectual honesty, continue to do youth ministry, or even work on a church staff at all.

Then I ask myself, "Would I recognize the ideal position if it showed up on one of these sites?" And in response to that, I think I've come up with what I think would be the coolest ministry position ever.

Minister of Questions.
I think I would make a good Minister of Questions.
The guy responsible for asking difficult questions about faith. Questions that need to be asked. Questions that sometimes we are too afraid or too comfortable to ask ourselves. Questions that propel us into a search for something deeper, something fresher, something more real. Questions that actually require truth as their answer.

I would welcome questions from others about my own life and faith, as well. I love them. After all, that's why I'm in the questioning business in the first place! I would work extra hard to make sure that I'm a safe place for people to ask the most scandalous of questions, and offer the most unorthodox of answers for consideration.

I would hold gatherings, large and small, where people could come together to ask and be asked questions (really important ones, and maybe sometimes little fun ones, too). Sometimes I'd answer a question with another question, not to be difficult, but because sometimes the best answer is another question. Sometimes the answers would be life-altering, and would come from the most unlikely people and places. Sometimes we wouldn't really be concerned with answers at all. After all - I'm not the "Answer Guy", I'm the "Question Guy".

When I read about Jesus, and those who interacted with Him, I come across some of the most profound questions in all of life.

"You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Matthew 8:26, Matthew 14:31
"Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?" Matthew 14:3
"Who do people say that I am?" Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18
"But what about you? Who do you say I am?" Matthew 16:15
"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Matthew 16:26
"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?" Matthew 18:21
"Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Matthew 19:16
"What are you looking for?" John 1:38
"What do you want me to do for you?" Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:36, 10:51; Luke 18:41
"Who is my neighbor?" Luke 10:29
"What is truth?" John 18:38

Question after question after question. And sometimes, the question IS the answer. Sometimes the question is such that, to attempt an answer would be feeble and trite.

A couple of days ago I came across the web page of a church that had an obscenely long list of people on their "Staff Bios" page. Like 40 people. Their list included a "Director of Operations", an "Operations Coordinator", an "Operations Service Manager", and an "Operations Weekend Manager".

Now, I don't know what any of those jobs mean, but I promise you this:
If they hire me - I'll certainly ask.


Leah said...

You know, sometimes a minister is put into a "worldly" position in order to minister to the world.
Sometimes I think we have this church thing backwards.
Didn't Jesus "Go ye, therefore, into the world..."
When is the last time ministers left the doors of the church to go into the world?
It is a scary world out their, and I am honored that my hubby choses to minister IN it.
Blessings to ya. Hope you find what you're looking for, and if you want to go into the world, email me, Ronnie always needs more employees!

Anonymous said...

I would make a good answer man, as long as I can make the answers up.

Loretta said...

i think these questions that you ask are important questions and good questions and often answerless questions. so you go ye into the world and ask questions j.t. but you won't be liked very much, unless you were in seattle. people like questions in seattle. just a thought... : )

Dylan Newhouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dylan Newhouse said...

Our talks during your visit prompted me to re-read parts of Lewis' 'The Great Divorce.' The following exchange in particular really informs my thought on the 'empty hell' theory... though there are differences in what is actually being discussed in the book & our topic. None-the-less, I thought I would share it.

"What some people say on earth is that the final loss of one soul give the lie to all the joy of those who are saved."

"Ye see it does not."

"I feel in a way that it ought to."

"That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it."


"The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to veto Heaven."

"I don't know what I want, Sir."

"Son, son, it must be one way or the other. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves. I know it has a grand sound to say ye'll accept no salvation which leaves even one creature in the dark outside. But watch that sophistry or ye'll make a Dog in a Manger the tyrant of the universe."

I love reading your page... keep the posts comin.' See you guys soon...


Leah said...

have you fallen off the face of the earth?

marko said...

what a fantatic post!

Anonymous said...

great thoughts. i worked in a church like that as well. when will i get the blessing of writing my own job description and having some awesome made up title.

again i find more and more these conversations are taking place all over the church as people are beginning to look back towards Christ and look at how he actually did ministry instead of trying to create some new/neo savvy kinda of out reach. great thoughts brother keep them coming

Patrick J. Mehaffey said...

We've been seeking/studying community as it was in Biblical times. Think of the disciples and Jesus, what their daily lives were like. They broke bread together, traveled together etc... I think in those relationships we see true community, and maybe a glimpse of what the church was meant to be, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, helping the widows and orphans, but most importantly doing this daily as a way of life, rather than by dropping a few cans of at the food pantry, or giving our old clothes to goodwill. I think you are on to something with your questions...