all questions considered
today i had lunch with tim hawkins, a good friend who leads sojourn collegiate ministry in boston. i have always respected tim's commitment to relational ministry, ability to wrestle with the hard questions and decision to remain rooted in christian church, church of Christ tradition we both claim as home.
during our meeting tim dropped a couple of keepers on me including a statement that "the church is the local expression of the neighborly love of God." he also told me a short story about the sacredness of questions that he graciously agreed to post here. thanks tim!
My second year in campus ministry, one comment changed my ministry.
A friend of mine, Nate, a guy who had been struggling with his faith, had been coming to our on-campus gatherings for a few months.
Eventually, he felt like this might be a good place to bring his agnostic girl-friend.
She came with full-guard up. I put on my best peppy, inclusive, welcoming campus minister voice and pulled out my arsenal of conversational questions.
“What year are you?”
“Where do you live?”
“Where is home?”
“What is your major?"
“What do you want to do with that?”
Each question was met with a short return. One word answers.
I went to the well one more time, trying to make her feel welcome.
“Hey, I’m glad you’re here. I don’t mean to put you on the spot by asking a lot of questions. I hope you enjoy just being here tonight.”
To which she responded with a sentence that has forever changed my ministry.
“Well, maybe if you would ask me better questions, I might talk more.”
I have led with better questions (I hope) ever since.