Posts Tagged ‘answering religious questions’

I had a totally unique experience yesterday.

About 25 college students – who were taking a world religions class – visited the church I’ve been serving as an interim pastor.

The students drove themselves from the school to the church.  I shook hands with each one and introduced myself to them.

They all came upstairs and entered the worship center and sat down.

Their professor stood up and briefly oriented the class to the worship center, noting that the church:

*didn’t have stained-glass windows.

*didn’t have pews.

*had a pulpit in the middle of the stage.

*had a baptistry.  (Some students quickly walked up to it and looked inside … nothing.)

The professor then turned the class over to me, and for the next hour, I answered as many questions as I could.

What do secular college students want to know about an evangelical Protestant church?

They wanted to know:

*why there are so many different Protestant denominations.

*who is baptized and how a baptism is performed.

*whether Protestant ministers are allowed to marry.

*the role of women in a Protestant church.

*how many sacraments Protestants have.

*what the definition of “Protestant” is.

*what kind of music Protestants have in their services.

*what kind of sermons a pastor gives.

*whether or not we pressed our kids to attend church.

*whether pastors are paid or not.

*who owns the property and how it’s paid for.

*how pastors are hired.  (Are they sent by a denomination or selected by a local church?)

There were no questions about:

*how a person gets saved.

*social issues like abortion or gay marriage.

*theological issues like the deity of Christ or His resurrection or the afterlife.

*the Bible itself.

*the role of Baptists during the Crusades.

The group was well-behaved, attentive, and inquisitive.

Nobody seemed hostile.

One kid on the front row had a Catholic background, and he asked me questions rapid-fire.  I couldn’t tell if he sincerely wanted to hear my answers or if he wanted me to know how much he knew about Catholics.

This was a great experience for me.  It enabled me to hear how college students view Protestant churches.

And it also showed me how little the students really know about what goes on inside the four walls of a Protestant church.

One young woman in the front row referenced a Christian rock group and helped some of the students understand what happens during a typical worship service.  She became a valued ally 2/3 of the way through our time together.

It’s good for a pastor or an evangelist to visit a college class.  It’s far better for the class to visit local houses of worship.  (If a picture is worth a thousand words, just one visit to a house of worship must be the equivalent of reading 100 pages about that same religious group in a book.)

Maybe a local church could identify colleges within driving distance of their campus and invite professors (especially those who teach world religions) to visit the church campus with their students and ask questions of the pastor and staff.

What do you think?


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