Last Thursday, I asked, Will Your Pastor Preacher on Sex? Only a handful of people commented that their pastor had indeed spoken publicly on the topic of sexuality in their church. Which is sad.
Especially since the Bible has so much to say about it.
But before we get frustrated with preachers for not speaking up and speaking out about sexual intimacy, I want you to know that I have compassion for pastors. I’ve been in close relationships with them and seen the pressure they receive. Many hear from church members to preach on this and not on that, to say more of this and less of that, to say it this way and not that, etc. And yes, I’ve been there when a preacher mentioned sex from the pulpit and got an earful from parents of young children who thought it was inappropriate.
It’s easy to say that pastors should ignore all those voices and simply preach the Word, but:
- They are human. And have you ever been under heavy fire like that? It can be very discouraging.
- Their jobs and family livelihood are tied to these choices. Surely, you consider how what you say at your job could affect your employment. Just consider that they may face the same concerns.
- Most pastors try to both preach the Word and be responsive to their congregation. If their churchgoers don’t seem to want a sermon on sex, they may conclude that they can deliver the message in a different way or simply use their precious time to preach on something the congregation does seem to want and need.
- Some pastors don’t feel like they’re in a good place to preach on sex because their own marriages are not in a good place regarding sexual intimacy.
I believe what pastors largely need is not our frustration and criticism, but our reassurance and support. Maybe we can counteract the voices that object to mentions of sex in the pulpit with a message of encouragement. Maybe our words can embolden our pastors to speak on the tough stuff and reach out to those in need of godly wisdom regarding sexual intimacy.
Could you take your pastor aside and give him that message of encouragement? Could you write your pastor a note or letter explaining why you believe this topic is important, and why you trust your pastor to deliver a good sermon? Could you speak to the elders and let them know you desire and support efforts to speak up on sexuality as a church?
Look, I’m just little ole me in my church — one of many sitting on a chair in the sanctuary on Sundays. I’m not on church staff or a pastor’s wife or in any formal leadership position. But I believe the voices of the congregation matter in encouraging those in leadership to be bold and faithful to the Word. A swell of voices from the sanctuary could be just the gentle push your pastor needs to speak what God has put on his heart to speak.
Here’s my message to your pastor (and mine):
While engaging in my online ministry, I have heard so many stories of hardship and heartache regarding sexual intimacy in marriage. For many spouses, there is confusion, pain, and temptation surrounding the sexual act. But I have also heard stories of redemption and revival, once couples begin to experience sexuality in their marriage the way God intended. I know, as a pastor, you’ve heard such stories from individuals and couples as well.
You have many topics competing for attention as people try to navigate this topsy-turvy world, but I want to encourage you to preach from the pulpit and/or teach in a Bible class on the subject of godly sexuality. With so many wrong messages out there, the Church must be even more bold about teaching the truth of God’s design for sex. Not only have some in our congregation been impacted by adultery, pornography, and sexual assault, but many marriages are suffering from sexual deprivation and lack of intimacy or conflict and bitterness surrounding the marriage bed.
You have my full support to speak up regarding these matters according to the Word of God. I will speak to the elders on your behalf and actively defend you among those in our congregation who may struggle with this private act being appropriately discussed in public. If we need to provide additional care or programs for children during sermon time so that you can be free to say what needs to be said, I will help in any way I can. If I disagree with something you say, I will speak to you respectfully and privately, and I will encourage others to do the same. I will be an advocate for you and the importance of dealing with this topic head-on in our church.
I appreciate your willingness to speak where the Bible speaks. Please know also that I will pray for you and your own marriage. May God bless you and your ministry!
Now what would you like to say to your pastor? How could you encourage him to speak up and speak out on the timely issue of sexual intimacy in marriage?