Preaching on the Tough Issues

During health-care reform efforts this summer, it was suggested that pastors preach on the topic. This sounds like such an easy and simple thing to do—if you are not a local church pastor! Preaching on hot-button issues is never easy.

I serve a church that has sought to welcome all people, including Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, rich and poor. Sixty percent of the congregation members are Republicans; 40 percent are Democrats. When preaching prophetic sermons, I’ve learned to ask myself if I merely want to irritate people, or truly influence them.

Congregants will leave church frustrated if they feel you took a complex subject, oversimplified it, made a “straw man” of their views, and then offered your political views under the guise of preaching scripture. Few change their minds as a result of these kinds of sermons.

If you actually want to influence people, it will take more than a simplistic sermon. Here are a few different approaches to addressing controversial issues with your congregation:

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Sojourners Magazine November 2009
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