How many times have you gone to church to hear the preacher talk about the following: homosexuality, fornication, jealousy, envy, adultery, alcohol, and drugs? They will talk about it, preacher against it, and provide various parts of Scripture to back up their argument. Every week, you’ll hear church leaders tell people what they shouldn’t do and how they are doomed to hell if they don’t get right with God.
For many preachers, it’s easy to talk about the sins of people, but never the sins of systems and institutions. Let’s face it—whenever a preacher dares to challenge the status quo, they are uncovering and bringing to light the sins of injustice that’s been plaguing people for so long.
As a former pastor, I’m often amazed at hearing so many preachers talk about money that the issue of social justice and social responsibility is neglected and even avoided. I’ve also come to discover that too many people sitting in the pews are so concerned with materialism that they forget about helping those who are hurting. It can even get frustrating to hear preachers who claim to be the voice of God refuse to speak about ending poverty, unfair incarceration of Black men, unfair wages between men and women, and a host of other social ills.
While we have some dynamic preachers who are on the battlefield fighting for justice, the sad reality is that we don’t have enough of them.
Whenever church leaders are more concerned with people shouting in their church rather than making a difference in the community, something is wrong. Because so many church leaders get their validation from a shout or an ‘Amen,’ the substance of their message has been compromised. Unfortunately, too many people in the church are guilty of it as well.
My former professor of homiletics at Virginia Union University School of Theology, Dr. Miles Jones said: “too many people shout in style but remain mute on substance.” That’s the problem with a whole lot of people in the church—they have accepted style, hooping and hollering, and clichés over deep theological understanding.
Let me drop this in your spirit—the moment when church leaders encourage members to bring their intellect as well as their faith to the house of worship, true communal change will occur.
Here’s a challenge for every church leader:
Understand you have a social responsibility to the people you lead.
Speak out against injustice without the fear of repercussions or losing your 501C3.
Encourage your members to think critically about what’s happening in the world.
Preach and teach on issues that are real and relevant in today’s world.
Collaborate with organizations that are doing something positive and productive in the community without becoming jealous or insecure.
Focus more on substance.
The word ‘minister’ is derived from the Latin word ‘ministrare,’ which means to serve, attend to, and to wait upon. With that said, every church leader who claims to be called by God should be a servant.
Let me say it this way. Be the example of what it means to serve God’s people. Those who are truly called will seek the betterment of the least and left out. Also, those who are called are willing to risk their life and their reputation for doing what’s right. Remember, every church leader has a social responsibility.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a minister, speaker, author, and success coach. Contact him on www.sinclairgrey.org or Twitter @drsinclairgrey