A grace place is a place of welcome where individuals can come as they are without judgement or criticism. Churches by definition ought to be grace places; places where seekers can come and wrestle with their questions and doubts; places where people can grapple with their understanding of who they are, who God is and how they relate to God and others.
Could a grace place can be a place where individuals struggle to find answers and received input and guidance? Could a place of grace might also be a place where we are allowed to sit with unanswered questions? Could churches as places of grace give seekers the opportunity to question their answers and assumed beliefs without judgement? One of my favorite Bill Moyer quotes goes something like this: “All my questions were answered in seminary. All my answers were questioned in life.”
My goal is not to tell people what to believe, but to give them room for questioning and struggling, and maybe to offer guidance as they their struggle to understand their faith. Encouraging questions and challenging assumptions is part of thinking through and claiming our own faith. My goal as pastor is to encourage others to do their own thinking and questioning rather than give them predefined and prepackaged answers. I trust that through this process they will be guided by the Holy Spirit, and anchored in the Word.