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
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.