What if I'm asked a question and I don't know the answer?
This is one of our greatest fears when it comes to teaching children or teenagers about God.
However, if you are a parent, your kids ask questions all the time and you don't always know the answer. This is normal life. We simply respond, "Why don't you Google it?" (When I was growing up, most of us were told to look it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia. Times have changed!)
Can You Explain God and the Bible?
For whatever reason, it is a game-changer when we are asked a question about God or the Bible. You've been there ... your palms begin to sweat, your brain begins to frantically search for something to say, and you tremble at the thought of saying the wrong thing. Why is this?
On a positive note, we hold the truths of God and his Word in high esteem. We don't want to lead someone to believe the wrong thing or express false doctrine. That's a good thing! But should we let this fear paralyze us?
The Myth of Now: Can I Get Back To You?
There is a big lie that we tell ourselves in these moments that has a detrimental effect on us: I have to know the answer to these questions ... and now.
I have talked with numerous people over the years who have shied away from volunteering in kids and youth ministry because they don't know the Bible well enough to lead and influence the younger generation. This is just another way of expressing the same fear: "What if they ask me something and I don't know the answer?"
The Myth of Sufficiency: I Need Help
I know that many parents also fear the responsibility of teaching their children theology because they feel like they may not be the "strongest" Christian. Can I release us from the pressure this fear is placing on us?
It is okay to not know the answer to another person's spiritual questions.
There is no way that we will be able to answer every question about God and the Bible that we are asked. I'm a pastor who studied these topics in seminary and this happens to me all the time!
Don't be afraid of this scenario. Celebrate and lean into it. You have a response at your fingertips that is incredibly powerful: "I don't know, but I'll find out."
Questions Are an Opportunity
When you acknowledge that you don't have the answer, your response conveys three things.
That's a great question!
I don't know the answer and I respect you enough to not make up something.
Your question matters. Let's learn together.
This is an incredible opportunity for discipleship. These are not moments to fear but to seize!
If you are a parent, rejoice that your child is thinking, asking questions, and showing interest. Take this opportunity to not only guide them but also to learn something yourself. Find a pastor, a trusted friend or mentor, or seek a resource that can help you discover an answer. Together you and your child can dig deeper into the truth of God and hopefully, the result will be a clearer understanding and a deeper faith.
If you are holding back from investing in the younger generation in your church, don't! At Berean, our Kids and Youth ministries are filled with knowledgeable staff, pastors, and seasoned volunteers. Together we all make up an incredible team that has each other's backs. We partner with the home to foster a deeply-rooted, authentic faith in the lives of the younger generation. Come and join us. We need you! It is a great opportunity to make a difference for the kingdom of God without having to know all the answers. It is also a great opportunity for you to grow in your own faith.
I hope that relieves you of fear and the pressure that comes with it. Never forget that God has placed the Holy Spirit within us as Christians. There is no greater helper. God is calling you to point people to the good news of hope in Jesus Christ. Let's not let a needless fear get in our way.
We are in this together!