Half of Pastors Afraid of Speaking on Controversial Issues, Offending Congregation

by | Apr 11, 2019 | Church & Ministry

A new study shows that half of American pastors worry about preaching on hot-button social issues—like abortion and LGBTQ issues—worried they might offend someone.

Pastor Corey Brooks, Pastor Michael Youssef and Pastor Ron Lewis open up on Fox & Friends about the pressures facing worship leaders around the nation after the Barna Group published the results earlier this year.

While the majority of pastors agree their job is to help Christians have biblical beliefs about specific issues, many feel added pressure from outside and within the church and are struggling to figure out how to communicate in the public sphere.

Brooks, the pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, said it’s the job of preachers to communicate God’s Word and the truth. Otherwise, he said, they’re limiting themselves.

“We have to preach the whole counsel of God,” Brooks said. “The gospel we preach is not always a comfortable message, so we have to preach it and declare it, regardless of how we feel.”

While Brooks doesn’t personally feel the pressure, he can see where it’s coming from.

“I think the pressure is for a lot of pastors to be bold, to be loving and to set examples,” Brooks said. “I think a lot of preachers around the country carry that pressure from day to day. There’s a great need in our society for us to preach what we preach and teach what we teach, but from the study, it appears a lot of pastors are having a difficult time doing that.”

Pastor Michael Youssef

Youssef, the founder of Leading the Way Ministry in Atlanta, agrees there is pressure, but notes pastors have a decision to make.

“In the end, you have to decide, ‘Are you going to please God and obey His Word, or are you going to please people?'” Youssef said. “Now as Bible-believing Christians, we love everybody. We have no foes because love casts out fear … but as we love people, we must say as pastors, ‘Thus says the Lord.'”

And when it comes to hot-button issues, Youssef doesn’t shy away.

“If it’s in the book, I’m going to preach it,” he said. “All of us as pastors, we have dealt with families who have children who have all sorts of lifestyles, and I will say to them, ‘You love them and then you love them and then you love them some more, but you never compromise your conviction.’ I would say, ‘I love you but I would not approve of what you’re doing.'”

The Georgia pastor believes it’s their job to speak the truth in love without fear because it’s the pastor’s job to speak for God to the congregation.

“The moment that is reversed, we’re going to please people and we’re not going to please God, we’re in trouble, and that’s what’s happening in America,” he added. “The reason morality has gone out of the window is because the pulpits—and I lay the blame on the pulpits and the preachers—have ceased to preach the truth.”

Pastor Ron Lewis

Lewis, pastor of Every Nation Church in New York City, said the pressure is to have the “right tone, speaking the truth in love, it’s having good quality information on what the issues are and how to address them, so I think we’re changing with the times, and that is not the message as much as the method and really understanding our audience and their needs as well.”

The pastor in the Big Apple said Jesus is the greatest model and example for any Christian, pointing to the story of Jesus and the woman caught in the act of adultery.

Instead of stoning the woman as the law commanded, Jesus challenged the people, for whoever was without sin to cast the first stone. One by one, each of them left, until it was just the woman and Jesus.

Jesus asked her if anyone condemned her, and He added, “Neither do I.”

“I think in that example we have both grace and truth,” Lewis said.

“But He also said to her, ‘Go, and sin no more,'” Yousseff added.

“Yes, He did … and that’s where the truth comes in … and grace and truth work together,” Lewis concluded.

This article originally appeared on Fox News. Reprinted with permission.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Mario Murillo: An Era of Mass Soul Winning Has Begun

Mario Murillo: An Era of Mass Soul Winning Has Begun

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 27 Seconds From the very first tent stake we drove into California soil, until now, there has only been one dream. And, after two years, that dream came true in Roseville. Roseville is the victory we have yearned for. It confirms that an era of...

God’s Strategy for His End-Times Church

God’s Strategy for His End-Times Church

Read Time: 2 Minutes 23 Seconds In this webinar, Grant Berry discussed the strategy the Lord is releasing for His end-time plans to reform His Ekklesia/church. God is revealing different focuses of this strategy to various parts of the body, especially as it relates...

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

Read Time: 5 Minutes, 2 Seconds A river is a source of life. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Jesus told His disciples that if we believe in Him, "rivers of living water" will flow out from within us, from our hearts. "Anyone who believes in me may...

Cindy Jacobs Prophesies: Trust That He is There

Cindy Jacobs Prophesies: Trust That He is There

Read Time: 2 Minutes 42 Seconds It’s very interesting how the Holy Spirit will use things that you’re going through to not only prophesy to you, but also to prophesy over the body of Christ. In listening to other people and hearing what’s been coming out of their...

Have We Departed From the  Simplicity of Christ?

Have We Departed From the Simplicity of Christ?

Recently I heard a pastor say the following: "When I was pastoring and saw little fruit, I began to call those with potential to reach others for Christ to our home and to mentor them one on one. That's where massive growth happened in the people." Local pastors and...


Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Read Time: 3 Minutes 7 Seconds “When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to...
Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Read Time: 3 Minutes 56 Seconds God is good. And He has a good plan for each of our lives. No matter what may be going on right now, God’s plan is unfolding. In the meantime, Romans 12:12 tells us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,”...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdzLoS3wCM During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own life and health. These same principals hold true for all who read and...

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Pin It on Pinterest