At a recent Lifetree Cafe event a woman named Ruth told the group about her childhood experience with Sunday School. When she was nine years old she had lots of questions about God and the Bible.

Her questions reflected a sincere search for truth. At her young age she had doubts about some of the things she heard from her teacher. “I’m afraid I had too many questions,” she said. “They asked me to leave.”

She never went back. Now in her 60’s, Ruth doesn’t feel welcome in the Christian church. “They don’t want my questions or my thoughts.”

She’s not alone. Today’s churches rarely accommodate questions in a welcoming way. And that’s hurting the cause of Christ.

A Search Institute study found that personal faith in Christ is enhanced in churches that encourage questions–allowing for two-way interaction. But the church is structured for one-way communication–prepared remarks dispensed unilaterally by preachers and teachers.

Ruth frequently goes to her local Lifetree Cafe–because she’s actually encouraged to share her thoughts and questions. In fact, the sign on the wall says, “Your thoughts are welcome; your doubts are welcome.” And the Christians she finds there engage her in authentic conversations–about God.

Jesus himself presented a great model for us. His ministry provoked and encouraged all kinds of questions. He knew that any relationship–including a faith relationship–grows through the give-and-take of conversation, of questions and responses.

So, a question: What do you think?