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Uncomfortable in Church – And It’s Not the Pew

This week’s Ministry Briefing is all about being uncomfortable in church. Who in the world would want that? Well, you may want it if you take the advice in this week’s articles. Counseling pastor Brad Hambrick guest posts for J.D. Greear, sharing that too many pastors are making some big mistakes when preaching about same sex attraction and unnecessarily alienating members of their congregation who identify as gay or have relatives who identify as gay. Hambrick suggests that pastors prioritize one-on-one interactions around controversial subjects such as same sex attraction and that they should only venture into public discourse about it if they have spoken with people who experience same sex attraction. Most importantly, Hambrick notes that gunning for laugh or applause lines that resonate with straight members of the congregation can do a lot of damage and that preachers should choose their words very carefully. Former pastor Rob Bell hasn’t stopped preaching, and he recently shared some strong opinions about the role and content of the sermon in churches today. Bell shared in an interview that working in a church often prevented him from devoting adequate time to preaching and ministering to individuals. Even more troubling, Bell shared that sermons have become a tool for some pastors to build larger churches, minimizing the discomfort in their sermons and telling people what they want to hear. According to Bell, a sermon should be more disruptive and challenging, and when a pastor doesn’t have an organization to maintain and grow, it becomes much easier to preach those kinds of sermons. Andy Stanley made a lot of people uncomfortable this past week with his sermon, but it wasn’t a good kind of uncomfortable. Stanley stated outright that people who attend small churches are selfish. While he later apologized for his remarks and even found them offensive in hindsight, Stanley added that the full context of the sermon was about making the church a welcoming place for children. If anyone should be uncomfortable in church, Stanley believes it should be the adults who make sure their kids attend a church where they are nurtured and invited to join in the ministry. Find this story interesting?  It’s just one of dozens of stories great leaders are reading about this week in Ministry Briefing! All readers of my blog can get the next four issues of Ministry Briefing for just $1!

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