How to communicate controversial issues to your church

Scott Miller
July 29, 2022

It's been a very heated few weeks as people share their opinions and put lines in the sand on where they stand. As church leaders, we might be wondering if we should be communicating.

We've created 5 steps that we take as communications leaders before we make a statement about a controversial issue (or any post whatsoever).

Like most of you, we have our personal opinions, but often it's best to ask God how to properly share those opinions — if we're supposed to share them at all.

Let us know how you deal with heated topics in your church, and make sure to follow us for more church communications content!

1) Sensitivity

People have different opinions, world views, and life stories. Because of this, approaching a sensitive subject with blanket statements might actually be detrimental to not only your congregation; but people who might check out your church.

While keeping a Biblical viewpoint is key, asking yourself how Jesus would say it (if He even would) is the most powerful — and critical — stance you could make.

Of course, Jesus made bold statements, but he also showed love and an amazing awareness of who he was talking to.

2) Relevance

Of course, Jesus made bold statements, but he also showed love and an amazing awareness of who he was talking to.

Sometimes it's better to talk about things one - on - one with people rather than in a public statement.

Some things have nothing to do with the Church in the first place and are best left to politicians, experts, and the public forum to debate and discuss.

It's okay to have political opinions, but if it doesn't directly affect people's faith or relationship with God it might not even be necessary to discuss.

3) Realness

Approach the issue with authenticity. It's often okay to share some emotions about a subject. Some issues on social media might even warrant a personal statement from the pastor (if he/she is not the person normally posting content on social media).

Just remember that if you're writing from the first person (using "I" statements instead of "we", state your name at the bottom of the post (for example: Blessings, Pastor Steve).

4) Hope

Controversial issues can make people scared. You're a source of trust and comfort to your congregation, and sharing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel will often calm people's nerves and remember that God is in control.

5) Action

We as church leaders should always be looking for ways to take action in our communities and beyond. Some controversial issues can bring glory to God through the church; whether that be donations to a specific charity relieving that issue, or hosting a special sermon or discussion about that issue, think of ways to get people involved and use their spiritual gifts to help.