Answer Man or Spiritual Guide: The Leadership Dilemma

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Does providing "all the answers" prevent people from owning their own journey of faith?

Recently, I was asked a question in an email about an apparent discrepancy in the Bible.

I answered it.

And then I got to thinking: Instead of answering it, what might have happened if I would have led my friend to some resources and supported him as he searched for the answer himself?

Now, I’m not suggesting that every time someone asks me a question I should avoid answering it, and put the onus back on them. However, often as ministry leaders, we play the role of “answer guy” or “answer girl” and in the process keep people from owning their own journey to discovery.

If our goal is to encourage, empower and equip missionaries, we need to grow in our ability to discern when to simply answer people, and when to lead them to discover for themselves.

Here are four thoughts to consider as you decide whether you will answer or not:

1.  Adults learn when they have to.

Let our first inclination be that of providing support for people where they show a passion to learn. Let’s not take the growth that comes in the journey away from them.

Ask: Is this question I’m being asked a Divine moment full of growth potential, or is it a simple question with little real upside for growth?

Jeff Meyer Jeff is a father to four daughters, father-in-law, grandfather, and husband to Amy. He serves as the Lead Pastor of a multi-site movement in Madison, WI called the Church ( He also serves as a Lead Navigator for Auxano. ( You can follow Jeff at or on Twitter @jeffmeyer22

More from Jeff Meyer or visit Jeff at

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