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Here is what Kem and I are talking about.
Our church likes to be (more than) a little edgy in our sermon themes, hoping to speak the language of our culture. For instance, we preached a series on sex called Turned On. We've also themed series after movies such as Vantage Point and Transformers. Can you suggest any guiding principles for choosing themes that are very relevant but don't cross the line of being in bad taste?
Robb, there is just no foolproof answer to this. Speaking the language of our culture is always going to take us into places of uncomfortable tension because we have the burden of knowledge and desire for purity. And, like every topic under the sun, there will be liberal and conservative debates about it. But, I think it’s worth the risk and you have to find where your own personal conviction lies. It’s different for every church and maybe even different for each pastor on staff at the same church.
For example, in our church, we try to avoid dropping trucker slang because we just don’t feel it’s necessary. Although the definition of “trucker slang” varies for every single person on our staff. Shut-up to one person is as inappropriate as the f bomb to another.
We recently did a series called “Sex for Sale” and we were fine with it. No moral conflict whatsoever. A few months earlier, we chose not to do a series on forgiveness called “The other F word” because we felt it might be going too far. Ironically enough, the “Sex for Sale” series won us hate mail and phone calls from people who called us evil, corrupt and reported us to the Attorney General and Better Business Bureau. (I kid you not.)
Whether you are a pastor, church leader, or ministry servant, do not fear the wrath of what other church people think about the risks you take. Instead, fear the thought of people who will live an eternity without experiencing Christ. Sometimes, you have to lower the bar so someone can accept the invitation to a higher bar. It’s worth it. Where is that line for you? That’s between you and God. I believe he uses all of us in different places to reach different people. You maintain your confidence and keep pushing the edge. I’ll pray along with you for divine intervention and wisdom.
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