On a Sunday, when someone walks up to a pastor and says, “Could we grab coffee this week, I would like to talk theology with you.”
There are 2 kinds of people who do this:
- Those who want to show the pastor how smart they are and let him know they disagree with him.
- Those who want to learn and grow.
When a pastor has this question posed to them, rightly or wrongly, their defenses go up and they assume the person asking the question falls into category 1. The person in category 1 has no desire to grow. They will say they do, but the heart of their meeting is to disagree. They will interrupt the pastor while he talks at the meeting. This can happen verbally, but they definitely be getting their response ready in their head while he talks, meaning they aren’t listening. They will say things like, “I just wanted you to know.”
This person has no desire to be challenged, to hear they could be wrong. They don’t want to be humble. They want to disagree with the pastor or church and they want someone to know about it.
Now, the person in category 2 is different. I love meeting with the person in category 2. This person can be a new Christian or someone who has been following Jesus for 25 years. The heart of this person says, “I don’t know it all. I have genuine questions and I want to grow so that I can follow Jesus more fully.” I love meeting with this person. Their questions challenge me to follow Jesus more fully. Their questions make me think and the conversation is a genuine joy for me as a pastor. They want to know more because they know they don’t know it all and they know they could be wrong. They are willing to be challenged.
So, the next time you ask for some time with a pastor to talk theology. Ask, which category am I in? Which one do I want to be in? Which would serve the kingdom and the world better?