What is discussion?
Two or more people seeking a single, unknown truth together.
Discussion is the primary activity of truth-seeking communities. That's a unique kind of community, and it's all too rare. When people gather for the purpose of truth-seeking, the bonds that they form are incredibly strong, and the benefits they gain are deep. As Christians, we are supposed to live this way. In addition to being a truth-proclaiming community, the church is supposed to be a truth-seeking community. One of the most common commands in the Bible, written to members of the kingdom of God, is "seek the Lord." We should preach, and we should also discuss.
See, information isn't enough for knowledge. We can fill our minds with data, but end emptier than we started–addicted to fact acquisition, unable to seek or reflect. Fact acquisition, if it's all we do, reduces us until we become mere consumers of others' insights, incapable of meaningful growth or leadership. This tendency is true with spiritual knowledge too. Unless we turn ourselves from the glut of Christian information and toward the renewing of our minds through practices like discussion, we will not be people who can test and approve what God's will is. We will not become mature.
Instead of being mere intellectual consumers, we must practice the discipline of truth-seeking: finding and forming our honest questions and working them out to the best of our abilities. We can do that alone, seeking truth in a corner or a quiet room. But we should also discuss: we should seek truths together. Not just share opinions or show off, but vulnerably seek what's unknown. We should test our uncertainties together, prayerfully seeking the truth of the matter. God calls us, all of us together, to seek him. Let's not idly settle into facts and sayings about him, but seek truths together until we reach our God himself.
Why does it matter for Christian adulthood?
In order to make the faith their own, youth need to ask and examine their honest questions.
Christians are not transformed by holding the right conclusions, but by renewing our minds. Mature Christians have minds that are ready to test and approve ideas –they can practice evaluation and analysis, powered by the Spirit. It's simple: if we do not gain renewed minds, we will be tossed by every wind of doctrine that presents itself.
And this outcome is especially dangerous for youth, who inevitably encounter new waves of doctrine while they become adults. If all they have to help them are someone else's Christian ideas, they'll be liable to adopt new ideas whenever those seem attractive.
But the discipline of regular, free discussion with youth about big, honest questions before they go –practiced in the context of prayerful, Christian community– can persuade youth that all truth is God's truth, and that they can rely on faith, no matter what. Youth always have big questions. Will we invite them to explore their questions in the context of our Christian community, or will we force them to ask their questions with someone else?
Discussion and Wheatstone Ministries
"Wheatstone revolutionized my thinking"
The experience challenged me to engage my faith intellectually as well as spiritually. It not only exposed me to the great conversation, it invited me to join. It helped me realize how robust the gospel of Jesus is, and that the cost of discipleship includes my mind. I would not be the person I am today without the experiences I had at Wheatstone.
Lauren, 2000 alumna
Talks on discussion
Bring in Wheatstone's excellent speakers to talk about how to discuss; about faith, questions, and doubt; about how to ask good questions; about seeking the Lord in community; and about other discussion-related topics.
Wheatstone offers one-day training events for small group leaders on how to lead discussions that change people's lives. Hear what discussion is and why it's important, experience Mentor-led discussion, and learn how to lead excellent discussions yourself.