How Not To Handle Doubters

What do you not do with a doubter in your congregation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week, I came down with a virus and was experiencing extreme fatigue. I’m fine for the most part, but I do have a lasting cough that will probably stick with me for awhile. There have been a few nights I have got up in the middle of the night and just sucked on a cough drop until it was done and then I returned to sleep.

So during the week, I also saw someone share this on their post that a pastor shared. Granted, we don’t know all that went on before. The pastor claims there were several cordial DMs that he had with this person, and then decided to share this as something that you just have to do some time. Again, I don’t know all the context, but I am going on what the pastor shared, not the person he was dialoguing with.

Pastors. Please please please don’t do this.

I can see myself easily as the young man in this picture. If someone you trust sees a message and doesn’t say anything, it’s hard to know what’s going on on the other end. He feels ignored. Now is that a potshot possibly taken at the end? Perhaps, but hurt people hurt people, and I do suspect this man has been deeply hurt.

You all know I don’t think God speaking today is normative, but if you do and God seems to be silent and you look to the person you think best represents him and that person lets you down, what else is to be thought? God has totally abandoned you. It’s an easy conclusion to make.

So let’s look at this unnamed pastor for now. I know who he is and where he pastors, but I’m not going to share it. I want to note one thing he says.

He has a church with 400+ people in it.

Could you not find a man among one of them who can help you out? Is there not someone who understands enough apologetics to help this person? If there is not, then pastor, your biggest problem is not this person coming and taking “your time.” Your problem is that you haven’t prepared your flock. If you are teaching the flock the truths of the gospel, finding one person who can do this should be simple.

By the way, I also say a man because I think a man experiencing doubt like this who is going to be spoken to on a personal level needs it to be another man. Forming an emotional connection like that with a woman could easily lead to forming other connections. It is not to say women aren’t needed in apologetics. They definitely are.

This pastor has instead told me more about himself. I know more about what this pastor does, but I don’t know what is going on with the person who is asking for help. I know more about how important what this person does is.

Or rather, how important he thinks it is.

Instead, all I see given back are a bunch of cliches. These sound good, but they don’t work with a doubter. Could some of the claims be true? Possibly. Could it be that this person thinks the world revolves around them? Possibly. Still, the pastor shared this photo and shared it as an example of what to do.

It is exactly the opposite. It is a failure of leadership. It is someone who didn’t delegate and let someone else answer the questions. I hope this young man isn’t a casualty of what you did.

And if the young man who was in dialogue sees this, reach out to me. I’ll answer your questions the best I can and if I can’t answer a question, well, I don’t have a problem reaching out to people I trust to be experts in those fields to answer such questions.

It’s not about me and my time after all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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