Though most still address the topic in sermons, preachers report more pushback from their congregations over the past four years.
Pastors seem more reluctant to address issues of race in their congregations today than four years ago.
According to a LifeWay Research study, 74 percent of pastors agree their congregation would welcome a sermon on racial reconciliation, with 32 percent strongly agreeing. In 2016, however, 90 percent of pastors believed their congregation would be open to a sermon on the topic, with 57 percent strongly agreeing.
Today, 17 percent of pastors say their church would not want to hear about racial reconciliation, up from 7 percent in 2016.
“While most pastors’ teaching is not limited to things their congregation wants to hear, it is helpful to know the reaction pastors anticipate from their congregation,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Instead of a majority strongly agreeing, now only a third of pastors have no hesitation that their congregation would welcome a sermon on racial reconciliation.”
African American pastors (93%) are more likely than white pastors (73%) or pastors of other ethnicities (74%) to say their church would be open to a sermon on racial reconciliation.
Pastors of churches with 250 or more in attendance (83%) are the most likely church size to say their congregation would welcome such a sermon.
Denominationally, Methodists (83%), Presbyterian/Reformed (79%), Pentecostals (78%), and Baptists (74%) are more likely than pastors of Lutheran churches (59%) to believe their congregation would like to hear a sermon on the topic.
More than 8 in 10 pastors (83%) say they’ve preached on racial reconciliation in the past two years, including 70% who say they have not received any negative feedback because of those sermons and 12% who have been …