As I have been working on Sunday's sermon, I realize how often I put my own questions into what I want to share. I can't help but think of the remarks that one of my classmates made - he is an associate pastor, and he preached a sermon in which he asked questions. Afterwards, the senior pastor pulled him aside and said, "It's ok to preach your questions, but just make sure that THEY know that YOU know more than they do."
That strikes me as a statement full of self-grandeur. Make sure they know you know more? Seriously? Maybe the preacher has had more classes in Bible stuff (and maybe not), but when it comes to KNOWING spiritual stuff, that's a level playing field. I hope that I have a spiritual life that I can share. And, I hope that God can do something with the words I blurt out to spark something spiritually in my listeners, but I have questions, too. I have doubts, too. And, I don't always know the right thing to say or how to pray or any of that. The only thing that makes me any different from anybody else in the congregation is that my faith is really public, by nature of the job. I don't always like that, but that's just a fact. But, having faith that is public does NOT mean knowing more than anybody else.
And, why would a minister want to be sure that the congregation knows how much he/she knows? Really. That smells of control and self-importance.
For ministers, the congregation is not just an employer. The congregation is our family of faith, too. It's where we struggle and it's where we grow in confidence. But, good googly moogly, if we have to worry about showing how much we know in our own families of faith - that's some pressure right there!
So, I am thankful to be in a congregation that asks questions and that allows me to ask questions. God is big. Jesus is big. The Holy Spirit is big. So big that none of us will ever take it all in on this side of eternity. And, that's ok.