9 Questions to Ask Before Addressing Cultural Issues at Your Church

The preacher must assess both the culture and the congregation in order to determine whether to engage certain cultural concerns that arise.

Are you moved by principle or just wanting to break the boredom? If the impulse to interrupt the series is to alleviate boredom, then the preacher may have bigger issues. If that’s the case, there’s not a problem with the length of the series but the composition of the sermons—hence a problem with the preacher himself.

 

The preacher must assess both the culture and the congregation in order to determine whether to engage certain concerns that arise. Clarity in this matter is essential, but how does the preacher gain such clarity?

Let’s consider nine questions that will serve as indicators for the expositor, helping you discern the extent of the concern and whether it should impact your upcoming sermon.

  1. Does the concern affect a substantial portion of your congregation in a substantial way?

Does the problem, crisis, or concern on the minds of the church members move them to come to church hoping (and needing) to hear a direct and timely Word from the Lord?

Given the sensationalized and never-ending news cycle to which we are now afflicted, the key word is substantial. Are a substantial number of people affected in a substantial way?

  1. Should this concern be affecting them?

Is the distraction legitimate? Many church members stumble into worship with earthly distractions.

Everything from college football and pop culture personalities and circumstances to the rolling events of the never-ending news cycle clamor for their attention. The last thing the preacher should do is give these issues legitimacy or draw attention to them.

To engage such is to forfeit biblical exposition altogether and become a topical preacher. Just because there’s an elephant in the room doesn’t mean one should engage it. Perhaps it needs to be ignored—or shooed out altogether.

  1. Does this concern pose a threat to God’s people morally, doctrinally, or in some other way?

The faithful shepherd warns the sheep. This warning most commonly happens through the regular exposition of Scripture, but there are times when a more direct, timely word is needed.

Hence, it may be necessary to preach an isolated, expository sermon on the prosperity gospel, the historicity of Genesis, biblical sexuality, Supreme Court decisions, religious liberty, etc.

  1. Does this concern necessitate a pastoral response of comfort?

The faithful shepherd not only warns the sheep; he also comforts them.

Read More