Sermons: Address Congregational Care Issues
I hopped onto www.churchleaders.com and was intrigued by an article entitled, “How to Preach Like Andy Stanley” written by Michael Lukaszewski.
Of course Mike’s title caused quite a stir.
Actually, it was quite clever. The title alone enticed us to read the article which really addressed why he felt Andy Stanley was one of the top communicators of our time. Andy Stanley is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Georgia and is also son to the well known tel-evangelist, Charles Stanley.
Congregational Care: One of the Keys to Success
I would like to address two of the six reasons Michael highlighted in his blog because I think pastoral and congregational care are extremely important to the success of any church.
Mike wrote in his article that Andy Stanley understands people and tackles the tough topics with grace.
As pastors, it’s extremely important to stay connected with the real issues facing our congregations.
Pastoral and Congregational Care issues may look like this:
- Depression or anxiety disorders
- Marital unfaithfulness [infidelity]
- Loss of job
- Alcohol or drug addiction
- Rebellious children
- Unwanted pregnancy or abortion
- Rape or molestation
At Least 25% Need Pastoral Care
Adam Hamilton, author of Leading Beyond the Walls stated that at any given time he counts on the fact that 25% of people coming to worship are in NEED of pastoral care.
Depending upon how large your church is or your personal work load, it may be simply impossible to devote sufficient time one on one to these individuals.
What Mike was saying in his article about Andy Stanley is that Andy is very much aware that there are people sitting in his congregation who are battling issues everyday and need help.
Andy bravely takes on some of these issues in his sermons or sermon series and does so with grace and not condemnation. Andy often cites that you may not always agree with him, but regardless, he is committed to sharing God’s truth. A prime examples of this is his video series on “Guardrails.”
Adam Hamilton states from his book that pastors have to address these real issues. He gives a couple of examples and the first is when he preached a funeral of a man who committed suicide.
Pastor Adam sensing that there was a need, devoted a whole sermon on the topic of suicide. A number of people told him that the sermon alone convinced them not to take their own lives.
Pastor Adam’s sermon was taped and copies remain in their bookstore weekly for anyone who wishes to pick up a copy for themselves or for a friend who is contemplating suicide.
Added BONUS: It Can be Evangelistic
Another example of meeting congregational care is the area of dealing with relationships and marriage. Pastor Adam devoted an entire sermon series on the “Biblical Perspective of Love, Sex & Marriage.”
This was as a result of a lot of pastoral visits of couples on the brink of divorce.
The goal of the series was to help the congregation understand the Biblical perspective on marriage and relationships between a man and a woman. By the way, everyone that is married at his church gets a DVD of this series.
Although the goal was to help relationships and marriages, members of the congregation invited friends and other family members. By the time the series concluded, their church took in nearly 200 new families.
Pastoral care sermons are important. As Adam Hamiliton quotes, “…help us offer real hope and help to those who are broken.”
Do you take time to assess the real needs of the congregation and intentionally study and create sermons to address congregational care issues? If not, are you motivated now to?