Yet, I have a question for you. When God is so clear on a subject in His Word and the culture is facing the issue in a glaring way, how can a biblical preacher not address it? At the same time, I want to be more than clear: we do not need to do this continually, as if we are on the hunt for a fight. But there are moments when God has led us to deal with a current issue.
How do we preach sensitive and challenging subjects?
In mid-July, God began to put the immigration crisis before me and on my heart. You can go back and read various things I have written relating to this crisis in our nation. One was written before I went to the border of Texas and the other was written after returning from the border. Upon my return, I began to seriously study this issue and once I looked upon it from a biblical perspective, I knew God wanted me to address it from the pulpit.
Therefore, this past Sunday morning, I preached Immigration: What The Bible Says About It. It is not every day you go to church and hear a pastor preach on this subject. However, where God had me in my life and personal walk, I had no other choice but to speak on this issue.
Since this is so fresh on my heart, I thought I would take the opportunity today, not to lift up the issue of immigration, but to address how we as pastors, can preach sensitive and challenging subjects. Let me offer these suggestions for your consideration:
1. Be Biblical.
I realize some of you will say, “Of course we have to be biblical,” and you are right. Yet, for clarity: If God’s Word speaks about it, we have something to say. If His Word is silent about it, we have nothing to say. Therefore, we must absolutely study, study, and study some more about what the Bible says about the issue we believe we are to address. We must be more than prepared biblically.
After studying the issue I addressed this past Sunday, I came to these principles convictionally:
- God knows the end from the beginning and while it may be a current issue to us, our eternal God has spoken to it already.
- God’s Word is sufficient relating to all things. What God says, He means; when He speaks, we need to listen.
When I came to the knowledge of what God had said about this subject and it became clear that God had something to say about it, our Eternal, Sovereign God spoke to me through His all-sufficient Word. Therefore, pastor, be biblical.
2. Be Teachable.
When you speak about a sensitive and challenging subject, it is some of the most difficult preparation you will do as a preacher. When you are dealing with an issue you do not live with daily, you have to do all you can to enter the world of the subject, becoming very teachable.
Last week and even before, I asked people from all walks of life about this subject. I asked for their thoughts and how they handle the issue in their business. In fact, one of our laymen really helped me work through the issue I addressed this past Sunday. He was able to take that which appeared to be complicated (and it is) and communicated to me with simplicity.
Be willing to be taught by others from all walks of life, getting their perspectives so you can enter the pulpit with the burden upon your heart. Read all you can on the subject, from various professionals in the field to practical articles that help you process the subject. Talk to other pastors about how they would deal with it and if they have dealt with it; ask them what pitfalls to avoid when you deliver the message. Teachability assists you in being a great preacher of God’s Word.
3. Be Convictional.
I believe that I entered the pulpit this past Sunday with great excitement because I knew I was addressing a biblical subject. And since it was a biblical subject, I could speak to it authoritatively, IF I stayed with the Word of God. Additionally, with biblical knowledge and understanding about the subject, coupled with being teachable about the subject from others, I could stand and speak to it convictionally.
Therefore, with conviction, I rose to speak to a very current issue with biblical authority. I kept it with the Bible and the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
When we preach on a sensitive and challenging subject, our goal should be to place biblical lenses upon the eyes of people that help them see the issue from God’s perspective. Articles and talk shows may be helpful at times, but what God says is more important than what anyone else says about it.
Therefore, preach the Word!
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd