Position Papers Will Save You From Numbskulls

So it’s Sunday morning, or maybe afternoon. You’ve preached your heart out. You’ve been at the building since 8:00am. The last chair has been put away. Your stomach is growling and you’re tired. Just as you reach to turn off the lights, Brother Bill comes up to you and wants to know your position on women in the ministry. Since Bill considers himself somewhat of a self-taught theologian you know he will not be satisfied with a one or two sentence answer. You say, “You insensitive, arrogant numbskull, can’t you see I’m trying to get out of here?” Well…you’d probably never say that…but you’d like to.

Position papers save a lot of time and let you address the individual’s question in a thorough way without taking the time right there and then. When I was pastoring I had position papers on a wide range of controversial subject. Some examples:

  • Women in the ministry
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • The role of the elder
  • Church government, i.e. how decisions are made here
  • Tithing

I developed the content of these papers based on past messages I’d delivered. I honed my teaching notes down to the bare essentials, and created a 8.5 X 11 double-sided tri-fold brochure, printed off copies and made them available each Sunday morning at our literature table. Eventually the same documents appeared on our website.

It was great to be able to simply refer someone to one of my papers. That way, when someone wanted information that I did not have time to give, or if a controversial subject was brought up in a large group setting, I could tell them to visit our table or website.

The bottom line is that it’s always more loving to hand someone a brochure than to call them a numbskull.

2 comments

  1. David’s avatar

    Found this blog via Cal Habig’s blog…

    I love this concept and I recently discovered that a blog post I wrote in the past did the same thing. The blog I keep for the church I serve has one post that consistently gets hits every month and it wasn’t till I asked myself “why” did I come up with an answer. People want to know what you (or the church you serve) believe. That particular post was about a specific theology, baptism.

    I had an individual ask me just last week what “we” believe. I had no way to answer such a broad question in a short amount of time so I kept asking questions till I got to the root of her question. How easy it would be to just hand out a paper or point to a website…

    Again, great suggestion. Guess I know what I need to be working on…

  2. Dave Jacobs’s avatar

    David, in the beginning it takes some time but eventually it saves a bunch of time. Just start with one position paper at a time and before you know it you’ll have a whole set of them. Thanks for the feedback.

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