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Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons

Matthew D. Kim believes addressing pain is part of a preacher’s calling.
Why Suffering Belongs in Our Sermons
Image: Illustration by Duncan Robertson

Matthew D. Kim is no stranger to pain, either personally or as a pastor. In Preaching to People in Pain: How Suffering Can Shape Your Sermons and Connect with Your Congregation—which won CT’s 2022 Book Award for church and pastoral leadership—Kim encourages preachers not to avoid addressing pain from the pulpit. Kim serves as the George F. Bennett Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology and director of the Haddon W. Robinson Center for Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Author and Denver Seminary professor Angie Ward spoke with him about how preaching to pain is a critical aspect of church health.

Your book focuses on an often-overlooked reality for preachers: In any congregation receiving a sermon, there will be listeners who are in pain. To begin, how do you define pain and suffering?

Pain is something that’s universal and yet also so individualized. Even though we all share in pain, we’re not going to experience or process pain and suffering ...

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