We believe that:
Questions are always appropriate in churches
Pastors and leaders should always respect those asking questions and respect their right to ask. They are in a place of leadership as a servant to the members and attendees of their church and they are there to serve them and help them get closer to God.
For a leader to ever claim that the desire to ask questions can be a barrier to finding
a deeper relationship with God is both utterly false and self-
Someone asking a question should never have their motives judged as a way of avoiding
answering. Jesus was asked many questions from those with appalling motives. Even
when he exposed those motives and criticised the questioners he always answered.
Leaders who seek to be Christ-
We utterly reject fear of man or woman. Fear is a tool of control no matter whom it is used by and the presence of fear is a sign that an abuse of power is operating. We understand the omnipotence and mighty power of the Living God. We are only and rightly supposed to fear Him, not any living person. We recognise that He can silence our questions if He wishes. We recognise that He can bring an end to every ministry, church and leadership regime when He deems it time.
If a question makes a leader uncomfortable
they should explain this honestly to the questioner. They should indicate that they are being asked about things to which they do not know the answer, but will seek to agree an answer with the rest of the leadership and communicate it back with urgency. If there is no skill or knowledge within the leadership to address the question, we believe that it is the leader's job to go out and find those within the wider church, who have that knowledge and skill and make that resource available to their church member.
All answers to questions should be able to be made public and be consistent, no matter who is asking. Confidentiality should be fully respected. Church policies, beliefs and practices should not be hidden from the membership or the public.
If an answer to a question is not the same as it would have been, say, 2 years previously,
this should be openly admitted and the reason for the change in church policy honestly
explained – even if it is embarrassing to admit the leadership position has changed.
How embarrassing admitting this change will be, is directly proportional to how strongly
the leadership pushed people into following the teaching in which they no longer
believe. Issues of this kind are a test case for honesty and openness. The only reason
for not telling the truth openly about a change is that it is embarrassing and humbling
for leaders -
If a leader is not prepared to tolerate or answer questions from their own church members, they should say so clearly and immediately resign from all leadership and let someone else take over this essential pastoral role. It is hypocritical to teach in a classroom by encouraging questions and to teach in the church by expecting people to sit, listen and not ever seek clarification, or to mindlessly ignore contradictions coming from the platform.
A pastor should be someone who understands and honours the duties and requirements of servant leadership, as laid out in the New Testament. Where there is confusion about the content and requirements of this role, a good place to look for a pattern to follow is in other parts of the Christian church where things are working well. A pastoral role which is vastly different in its focus, its emphasis, and how the leaders' time is spent from what would be normal in the mainstream Christian church inevitably and quite properly raises questions. These should be openly and honestly addressed and if necessary, changes made to the pastoral role .
The pastoral role should be firstly focussed on meeting the needs of the church members
and attendees in the local church in which that Pastor is currently the servant leader.
Once those most important needs have been fully met (in the view of the members,
not just the pastor) the pastor might begin to use some limited time in cross-
For a Scottish charity, all practices and policies should be publicly held, communicated
and open to honest scrutiny by charity law, scripture, the membership and the public.
No area of discussion should be off-
People over 18 are well capable of deciding which church and leadership they want to be under and we support everyone's freedom of choice. We also believe that every church should be fully and publicly open and honest about what it believes and teaches. We think it is important that no one should be a member of a church that is not honest about its beliefs, keeps secrets from its members and the public, or teaches that there are more important spiritual duties of a leader than being open and honest.
We think the truth is very important.
According to John 8:31-
Knowledge is not the same thing as an "anointing" or a "warm feeling". It is knowledge, and resides as information in the human mind. By truth we mean the deep and eternal truth of God.
This teaching from Jesus clearly implies 2 very obvious things:
If you are not free you do not yet know the truth.
While you still believe things which are not the truth, you cannot be free.
A great deal of time and effort can be spent attempting to hide our true natures, feelings, reactions and personal difficulties from our fellow Christians and putting on a good face to perform for our leaders. We would simply ask this. When you are alone and there is no one to pretend for or put on an act for – are you free? Are you living in the incredible joy and peace that comes from having the truth and freedom in your life that Jesus talks about here?