Summary: A question and answer style sermon
I hope to teach how to preach a question and answer style sermon.
Have you ever been interviewed or been asked a lot of questions that you had difficulty answering. Christians are encouraged to give an answer for the hope that lies within them, but so much of the time, we don't have a clue as to how to answer. The Q & A sermon can be useful in equipping believers to be able to answer some of the tricky questions that come our way.
We will look at why questions are good to ask, what do do about hostile questions, why it is sometimes best to respond to rather than answer a question, public questions about personal sins, friendly questions, and some other general question-answering techniques. Then we will discuss how to prepare a Q & A style sermon, where you prepare the questions ahead of time, and give an example sermon.
1. Why Ask Questions?
Questions are often asked that are pejorative, accusative in tone, or from people who are just plain hostile. Jesus was often asked such questions by religious leaders. Other times, questions are sincerely asked by people who genuinely want to know. Jesus' disciples often asked these kind of questions. We need to know how to think on our feet, and we need to have some kind of an answer for those who ask us why we believe what we do. A sermon that uses a Q & A approach prepares the congregation to answer such questions.
2. What about Hostile Questions?
Pastors are often exposed to tough interrogation. These inquiries may come from outside the church or from within. The Bible says that we don't have to answer all antagonistic questions. For instance, there is a time to answer a fool and a time not to (Proverbs 26:4-5). That is a judgment call. Not all aggressive quizzing come from fools either. Some members of the church may become hostile because of doctrinal differences, disagreements over programs, a pastor's real or perceived faults, and any number of other things. Pastors may not always anticipate this ahead of time, but so much the better if you can.
3. Do you have to Answer?
Sometimes a response is better than an answer. Notice how Jesus dealt with the sniping questions coming from religious leaders (Matthew 9:11-13; Mark 7:5-13). Often, he answered with a question. This annoyed the Pharisees then as much as it does news reporters today, but it was a legitimate response to an unfriendly query. Most people think that you have to answer the question being asked. This is false. You don't have to answer a question to respond to a question. Just ask yourself this, "Do you want to get sidetracked by a news reporter who is only concerned with juicy gossip that sells papers, or do you want to use the opportunity to spread the most important news on the planet, the gospel?" How to respond becomes clearer. Sometimes Jesus did not answer a question at all, but took the discussion in a more important direction. A hostile question can be an opportunity to give further information that you believe is more important.
4. What about Personal Sins?
Sometimes, Jesus nailed his inquisitors with an astute response that exposed their sins. Remember though, that Jesus had a purpose in his answers that you and I may not have in ours. You may not want to stir up religious leaders so that they will crucify you, but you may want to lead people to faith. Also, Jesus made no mistakes. We don't have that luxury, so if we are challenged about our faults, admit them and move on.
5. What about Friendly Questions?
Jesus' disciples were also full of questions. However, being a disciple did not guarantee that Jesus would always give a soft answer. Sometimes he was gentle and other times quite blunt with his students. So responding to friendly questions is similar to responding to unfriendly ones. It's just that we have the added advantage of the hearers being for the most part on our side.
6. Are there Other Techniques?
Some other skills for answering questions include: listening carefully, repeating the question, respond to the person by looking at them, anticipate questions, tell the truth (if you don't know, say so), If there are better experts within earshot ask them to answer, don't use hostile gestures, don't lose your temper, be in control, if someone wants to argue cut them short by saying there are different schools of thought and move on, be brief and to the point, finish with a strong closing statement.
1. What is Your Topic or Pericope?
Depending on the topic or pericope you choose there are any number of questions that could be asked.