questions-in-ministry Questions. My life has been filled with them.

Questions about the human situation have motivated how I spend my time.

Questions about goodness, truth, and beauty have driven my vocational decisions.

Questions about the spiritual realm and God have consumed me.

As I look back over my life, questions appear as a central driving force.

My site supervisor this summer shares my affinity for questions. She too cares passionately about deep thinking. She is adeptly skilled in the craft of carefully articulating a question, pruning away irrelevant answers, and widening understanding.

But I have begun to notice an important difference between her questions and mine.

The questions that have driven my life so far have been my own. My time is spent wrestling with my questions. My energy is concentrated on my questions. My decisions have been framed by considerations of what would allow me best access to my questions. My life has been filled with a kind of devotion to my own questions.

But I see in Ashley something different. Her life may share my devotion to questions, but the questions she devotes herself to are not her own.

It is the questions of her congregation that drive her life; the questions of her parishioners that she prioritizes. I have already begun to recognize the way that she is always carrying around with her, in all times and places, a heightened level of concern for the questions her parishioners are asking. The questions she devotes her time and energy to are the questions of those she will lead in gathering each Sunday to call on the name of the Lord.

She doesn’t brush aside these questions or view them only in relation to her own concerns. She doesn’t flippantly correct or haphazardly reframe them. She is devoted to these questions, to asking them clearly and responding to them faithfully.

What about me? Do I have that kind of capacity? Will I be able to enter into a life of ministry like that? Am I able to attend to the questions of others, to make room for their questions, even before my own? Could I learn to defer to the questions of others for the sake of the gospel? Will it be possible for me to begin to prioritize the questions of others for the greater glory of the God?

These are questions that remain to be answered. But I am thankful for the opportunity to spend this summer with someone who is both willing to hear these questions and help me begin to answer them.