Survey: Pastors pressured both to speak & to remain silent

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Steve Jordahl (

pastor in the pulpitWhen it comes to addressing the issue of biblical sexuality from the pulpit, Protestant pastors are getting mixed messages from their congregations.

According to a Barna Group survey, 90 percent of Protestant pastors feel like a major part of their role is to help their congregants have biblical beliefs about specific social issues. But Sam Rohrer of the American Pastors Network delved a little deeper into the survey's results and points out that "… the numbers dropped dramatically from the standpoint of actually engaging on the issues that probably would be the leading issues in our culture."

For example, 44 percent of Christian clergy say they feel "limited" (because some in their congregation will take offense) in their ability to talk about homosexuality from the pulpit, while 37 percent is pressuring them to talk about it. On abortion, 18 percent feel pressure to keep quiet, 17 percent to speak. Twelve percent of pastors feel pressure both for and against preaching about politics or political parties. (See chart below)

Rohrer, Sam (PPN)"Most of [the issues] that were in that report … revolved around what God says about human sexuality: marriage, abortion, everything doing with life and/or human sexuality," Rohrer notes. "Those were the most difficult issues."

Then again, he adds, the church as a whole has never really been good at preaching about sexuality.

"I have heard very few sermons about what God says about human sexuality and marriage," he shares. "I don't think that it has been happening for a long time – and to some degree, I think that's the reason why our culture has gone the direction that it has gone so fast."

Rohrer notes that "back in the day" the culture defended traditional, if not biblical, sexuality when it came to such issues as premarital sex and a person's gender. "[And] as long as the culture was embracing of those things, the pulpit probably thought it didn't need to preach on them," he states.

But as Barna's editor in chief Roxanne Stone points out, today's "changing, pluralistic society" requires a new kind of thinking and approach for pastors:

"As challenging as it may be, faith leaders must work to cultivate humility, discernment and courage in the midst of a divided culture. This is likely to come with a steady dose of challenging those inside the church as much as those outside of it. Pastors must be committed for the long haul, educating and equipping their people to respond with love and conviction, in word and deed. This, after all, is the essence of discipleship."

pressure on pastors - Barna


We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details





I would have more confidence in mainstream media reports about President Trump if they …





Autopsy report shows Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19
Brees' anthem comments draw backlash from teammates, others
Obama steps out as nation confronts confluence of crises
MLB rejects 114-game schedule, threatens plan of about 50
Tropical Storm Cristobal makes landfall on Mexico Gulf coast
Murder charge upgraded in Floyd case, 3 other cops charged
Nation’s streets calmest in days; police credit curfews


George Floyd unrest: Police out in force in major cities to tamp down on riots as curfews take effect
Antifa was plotting insurgency for months
President Trump reacts after being criticized by former defense chief Jim Mattis
The left's poisoning of the educational infrastructure
White man can’t breathe


Cartoon of the Day
UMC council tells LGBT forces to hit the rainbow road

natural marriageA ruling from the United Methodist Judicial Council last week all but makes it certain pro-LGBT forces have been defeated and biblical orthodoxy wins.