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Strategies for Preaching to the Polarized

How can our sermons bridge the division of our contentious moment?
Strategies for Preaching to the Polarized
Image: Illustration by Daniel Liévano

As I was working out at a local gym, my attention was drawn to the TV that hung from the ceiling. News anchors I didn’t know from a channel I hardly watched made talking points I didn’t understand about issues of which I was only vaguely aware. I feel like I don’t even know the world I’m living in anymore, I thought.

This unnerving feeling also comes up in ministry. Sometimes I wonder, Do I even know the congregation I’m pastoring anymore?

With all the political polarization, lingering resentments over how a church handled mask requirements, people taking sides regarding COVID-19 vaccination, and issues tied to deep pain like mass shootings, abortion, or race, we are pastoring communities in an ongoing state of elevated tension. These current realities layer atop the normal complications pastors face as we preach to congregations made up of different generations, political views, theological backgrounds, and relationships with Jesus (from committed Christians ...

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