A Church for Questions (.org)
Vision for a Church
John C. Rankin
The ministry of the TEI has always been rooted in the power to love hard questions (click here for a summation; see also my various books). We have two choices in life: 1) flee the hard questions (emotionally, spiritually and/or intellectually), and get tackled by them face down in the mud — a life out of control; or 2) run at the hard questions and tackle them — a life of self-control in the Holy Spirit.
Whether in churches, on university campuses, in the marketplace, in the Mars Hill Forum series, in countless conversations with believers and unbelievers alike, this has been my priority. The art of listening to and the posing of questions in rabbinic style, to God, leaders and one another, is at the core of biblical faith. It is how Jesus came to us in his incarnation.
1. The vision for A Church for Questions (ACQ) is to provide a home for such ministry within the church, and then, to strategically export it to the rest of the culture. Skeptics, lapsed believers and unbelievers are especially invited.
2. Designed to serve the greater church, ACQ does not interfere with their Sunday a.m. services. As well, ACQ is deliberately not a 501(c)3, giving full freedom to advance the Gospel into the political culture. Some people may make ACQ their home church, many will not.
3. Saturday night service; a) an admixture of the best classical hymns and contemporary praise songs led by a home-grown orchestra and band; b) liturgical elements; and c) circles of intercessory prayer where the power of the Holy Spirit to intervene is sought.
4. Dialogic Sermon: Here there is not a formal sermon, but in classic rabbinic style, it is driven by questions posed by those in the assembly. Any question is on the table, by anyone with any perspective, and Scripture is used to address it.
5. Many Monday evenings: TEI International Leadership School. This equals seven classes at 15-30 hours each, providing biblical literacy 101, equipping people with competence in the Word and confidence to address the toughest questions in the culture. This is also the foundation for the larger vision of teicohort.org.
6. Various other evenings: A Mars Hill Forum or cognate public conversation with skeptics of the Bible, or questions between different interpretations of the Bible.
7. Strategic social media interface.
Thus, A Church for Questions celebrates the intrinsic power to embrace questions at the emotional, spiritual and intellectual levels. The sequence of church, classes and forums, and cognate visions, serves this end where it is attractive to believers, lapsed believers, and unbelievers alike. Relational integrity and freedom define the ethos.