Should Questions be Asked by the Hearers During a Sermon?

@PastorP (1174)
United States
December 28, 2009 6:00pm CST
Greetings to all. I pastor a very small congregation. Many of my people suffer from some type of mental impairment. I noticed after a while that some had questions during the sermon but forgot what the questions were after the sermon was finished. So I started, every now and then, letting them ask questions during the sermon. That would interrupt my train of thought, so I then would suggest to them to wait when one point was finished. That worked a little better. Think it is a good idea to let the hearers ask questions? Have any suggestions to modify what I do at times? I would also like to hear from atheists on this matter regarding that if this is done would it make listening to a message more appealing to them.
1 person likes this
14 responses
• United States
29 Dec 09
Well, seeing they are having some problems and need to ask these questions, why don't you write them down when they ask, then tell them you'll talk about it after the point is made. This would help them and you and not really disturb too much. I think what you're doing is great and more people need to be more compassionate with these people.
1 person likes this
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Ah, writing them them down. That is a good idea. However I have at least one or two that do not know how to write, though they are adults . But for those that can, writing them down and collecting them and perhaps answering them at the end of the service would be great. While they could also do that vocally, writing the questions down might give some people privacy when they need it.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101611)
• United States
15 Dec 10
Are there any mature adults in your church who can sit with the people who often have questions and write them for those who do not write?
• United States
29 Dec 09
I can definitely see your problem. If you allow questions during your sermon it may disrupt the flow of it, and you could easily get off message if you have too many at the same time. If you do open the sermon for questions then whats the best way to do so, without disturbing the overall flow of the sermon? Off the top of my head maybe you could pause at a specific time during your sermon so members of your concregation can at least ask the question that is on there minds. But, then you have the problem of remembering the questions being asked and by whom. If you wrote them down yourself it would be one solution, but you would need to be able to write fast, especially if you had more than just a few, so that might not be the best option. In that vein of thinking, If you have a laptop you could design a form where you could type the question and who asked it much faster than writing in most cases. Then you could answer those questions at the end of your sermon or another time you feel is appropriate. If you have a sunday annoucements brochure that you regularly give out before your service, then perhaps you could provide a space in the back of it for your members to write down their questions, and pencils to write them with.
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Thanks RAVNEBLAADE0842, those are some good suggestions. , a laptop would help me to write things down whereas I can't read my own handwriting sometimes. Yes, I have stopped before between points. That's almost the only place to do so. If the transition has any steam to it, one could always reiterate a bit, then go into the transition.
@savypat (20246)
• United States
29 Dec 09
I can only speak from my own experience, which is, any time you can turn a sermon into a discussion at least two people gain, however others may find more value in the sermon. If I am interested in the sermon I don't want my train of thought interrupted by outside questions. But being blessed with a poor memory at this time in life I can understand how a question can disappear into the thin air if not written down. It's refreshing that you ask these questions, it means you are not just concerned with speaking but are willing to listen also. Blessings
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
8 Jan 10
Thanks savypat. You have a thought there that some might want to listen to the sermon instead of someone asking questions and me giving the answers.
@savypat (20246)
• United States
9 Jan 10
It is my thought that if I come to hear the sermon which you have spent time and effort to make something you think is worth hearing then I want to hear this uninterrupted. If you think a question and answer session is needed then hold it after the sermon so that those that wish can stay for that and others can go.
• United States
29 Dec 09
I think that questions are great to ask during a sermon, but make sure that it's relevant to the sermon. I would love to ask questions to deprove Christianity, but there's a time and place for everything ya know?
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Yes you are correct, they should be relevant. I also appreciate your sense of respect.
• United States
29 Dec 09
Thanks Pastor. While I might have changed my personal views on religion, it doesn't give me the right to disrespect it.
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
29 Dec 09
heya pastor p! my hubby and i attend a Baptist church in ontario, canada and what you are suggesting would be sort of odd to me. if you are talking a Bible study or maybe even Sunday school, that would be different but i think it would be hard to follow for the Sunday morning sermon though. just my opinion though.
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
9 Jan 10
Hi cher913. Thanks for your input!
@irishidid (8714)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Speaking as a parent of an autistic child I believe it is important for the message to be understood. I recall having a hysterical child come to me in fear of angels after having been told about them at church. She didn't understand what was meant by angels watching over her and was afraid they were actually standing over her as she slept. A better explanation by the person telling her this would have saved us both the trauma. You also have to remember they do not think as we do and, as my story relates, what we find reasonable they often don't. They take everything literally. I'm really happy that you are working on helping them have a better understanding. You are in the right direction.
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
9 Jan 10
Hi irishidid. You bring an interesting perspective.
@EvanHunter (4028)
• United States
29 Dec 09
I think its a good idea to let people ask questions as long as it doesn't interfere with the order of things. It may be that a few extra minutes might make things better for everyone's understanding. Also I would take it as a compliment that these people were really listening to what you said. A lot of times people go to church and sit through a sermon and tune it out, why they even bother to go at all I have no idea! Them having questions can be that they are showing they have a real hunger for understanding of the things of God.
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
8 Jan 10
Greetings EvanHunter. That is a good observation on your part. It's usually only two men who do it.
@Stonez (32)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Hello PastorP, A sermon is a experience for your congregation to learn about Jesus and to better worship him. Just like being in a classroom, an active participation by asking questions actually helps the people understand and learn more. I believe that with your small congregation that this is a excellent idea to allow your people to raise their hand and ask questions for you to answer. I think that the only reason it interrupts your train of thought is that you aren't used to answering questions while giving a sermon. With a few more meetings I think that you will not have that problem anymore and will be able to pick up right where you left off. :)
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
8 Jan 10
Hi Stonez. Well, I have been doing this for years. They do not ask questions all the time. When I feel I cannot be interupted I try to tell them ahead of time.
@jaiho2009 (39001)
• Philippines
29 Dec 09
Hello there, If it is time for preaching,i don't think it is proper to asks question,i guess before the sermon(preaching)starts,you have to announce that,questions will be entertained after the preaching time,so,they can note down whatever queries they had in mind.Or,you can assigned two or three people to assist them for writing their questions. Questions can't be avoided while preaching time goes on,but,it is not proper to just interrupt the one who's preaching,it will distract most of the listeners,and,it will also give more confusion to others.Besides,oftentimes,questions being asked will be tackled if only the questioners waited till the sermon is done,i had this experiences,whenever our leader(religious)starts preaching,questions that arises in my mind were resolved as the preaching goes on,so,better to listen with open mind and heart...i am sure....there will no question at all. Good luck with your preaching...spread the word of God,and be a good disciple. Good day my friend
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Yes, that has happened to the one man in my church in that he had a question but I knew it was going to be answered further in the message. So I told the answer was coming.
@ronnyb (6120)
• Jamaica
29 Dec 09
Well I think that its a good idea to let them ask the questions when they remember it but you may need to limit the number of questions that they are allowed to ask .In addition you may ask them to write down the question until after when you have a question and answer section because it is very important for them to ask question because if they have mental impairmnet to remember the question .I suspect that will have even more serious impairment remembering teh surmon itself
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Well this one guy in church really makes an effort. I have my basic outline posted on a chalk board and his wife writes the outline down. When it gets a little extensive, I have preprinted copies of the the outline. Btw, we do have a question/answer session every now and then. The next one is January 3 in the PM service.
@Allie_xoxo (1064)
• Canada
29 Dec 09
I think this is a revolutionary idea and that you should try to incorperate it into the sermons as much as possible. It would be beneficial for anyone special needs, atheiest or christian. People would get more personally involved.
@PastorP (1174)
• United States
29 Dec 09
Aye, and it would be great that they would get more involved. It is also good to know they have been thinking about what has been said.
@deedee328 (1127)
• United States
12 Feb 12
I am not a preacher, but I often do have questions that arise during a sermon. I know I will forget them by the end of the sermon, so I write them down. I realize some of your congregation may not be able to do this, but maybe someone close to them could do it for them. I think it would work better for you and your congregation to continue to let them ask questions after you have gotten through your thought. It would be difficult to continue to preach (and therefore teach)God's message if you are drawn from your line of thought. I would be interested in hearing from atheists on the subject too. I don't think that being able to ask questions would necessarily convert them. I am not sure that if a sermon is more interesting, that it would necessarily change what they believe, though I know that God has the power to change what is in their hearts through His message.
@GardenGerty (101611)
• United States
15 Dec 10
My brother pastors a very small church as well. It is not large enough to really have departments,like "children" and "teens" as well as adults. In his sermon time he first has all the little children, and not so little children come forward and he has a special sermon for them. The little ones are later dismissed to a play time. He then also goes over all the prayer requests he has, and then anyone who has a prayer request, even if it is about someone they do not know, or situations far away. All who wish to speak are heard, and he writes those requests down. They have prayer, laying on of hands for those who wish intercession, and then he has his sermon message. I am prejudiced, I know, but I love to visit my brother's church. Every one there knows that they are heard, by him, by the congregation, and most especially by God. Everyone is "precious in His sight" in that church. After the service there is always a treat and coffee at the very least. Sometimes a meal. For his Sunday night services, he cooks an entire meal for anyone who wants to come and eat. Always there is free flowing discussion.
21 Sep 10
how else would one learn unless he understands what it is he/she is hearing?