Clear Responses to Difficult Questions

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Questions might come up in your group and you think:

  • ‘I don’t know the answer…’ ’
  • I should know the answer!’
  • ‘What’s Mill City’s official stance?’
  • ‘I don’t even know where to start!’
  • ‘Wow, that is so off topic!’

People’s questions are real to them and should be honored. Our goal as group leaders is not for our answers to point to us (“wow, my leader knows a lot!”). With any question, we want to be honoring and helpful.

Honoring might sound like: “That’s a great question” or “I’ve thought about that too” or “Has anyone else ever thought about that?”

Helpful might sound like: “Let’s see what the Bible says” or “Could we table that question for another week?” or “I’d love to chat more about that, could we come back to that?”

Rather than list all the difficult questions you might get, here’s a few responses that might help guide your discussion (or keep you on track).

“Let’s see what the Bible says about that.”

I will almost always encourage the group to then pull out their smart phones and start looking up bible passages that relate to this topic. Sometimes we’ll break into small groups and each read a passage or two, pray, and then come back.

Let’s talk about that question in light of the gospel.

At Mill City, we want to have unity in essential things, liberty in non-essential things, and charity in all things. You can learn more about what this means in Mill City Connect Step One. The center of the bullseye is the gospel: Jesus’ life, death, family, and mission. Rather than asking, “what do I think about _______” I find it helpful to ask, “In light of what Jesus has done, how should we think about _______.”

I don’t know.

You aren’t the leader because you know everything! It’s okay to say you don’t know (in fact – it may be very encouraging).

That’s a great question

… one worth talking about. Would it be okay if we come back to that another week? or Maybe you and I can chat about that after? Sometimes a question is taking the group in a different direction than you are wanting. If you ask to chat off-line, or agree to come back around to the question you are honoring them and respecting everyone else in the room.