When I first became a pastor there were two guys in our church who would ask me questions. Both were completely different kinds of questions, both usually asked because they disagreed with me.
Guy One would ask questions that were attacks. He wasn’t asking to help me, he was asking to make me feel dumb and let him run the show.
Guy Two asked questions that helped me see things better. He wanted me to clarify what I said and perhaps even correct me in my way of thinking.
Guy One wouldn’t ask me a question after my sermon, oh no! He’d invite me to his house where he controlled the environment, and have me sit in a very low couch while he sat in a large chair in front of me, towering above me while confronting me with his questions.
Guy Two would ask me a question right after church, or as soon after I said it as possible.
Guy One used a couple other people who agreed with him to come with him, sort of gang up on me.
Guy Two would come face to face and keep it as private as possible.
Guy One would ask a question, wouldn’t hear my answer, and would merely run off a list of other questions, constantly attacking and me defending.
Guy Two would ask a question and then we would have a discussion.
Guy One was not interested in helping me understand things better, he was more interested in intimidating me, making me feel dumb (which wasn’t hard), and letting me know he ran the show.
Guy Two sincerely wanted to understand what I said and also often sincerely thought I was wrong! I also felt dumb with his questions, but that was more my insecurity of being called out on something I knew I didn’t understand well.
I have learned a lot from Guy Two. He has strengthened my faith, helped me think better and made me a better pastor. Guy One left after two years and I never saw him again.
I do not mind people coming to me and asking me questions if they want to learn or want to help me learn. I have little patience for the other guys who ask questions to battle, entrap and show dominance. I have gotten pretty good at identifying these types after meeting both repeatedly in the last 13 years of being a pastor.
You should be able to tell which one I prefer!