New LifeWay Research Survey Finds Most Protestant Pastors Have Not Preached on Racial Reconciliation, Preferring to Leave It to Others

“Have leaders in your church urged you to preach about racial reconciliation?” Graphic courtesy of LifeWay Research

Close to half of Protestant senior pastors have recently preached on racial reconciliation and more have publicly prayed about it, but few find that their congregations are urging them to address the topic.

A new LifeWay Research survey also finds that most pastors have not addressed economic inequities in their communities or joined a public lament about racial injustice.

“It seems like most congregations are eager for somebody else to do the work of reconciliation,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, “rather than embrace it for themselves.”

The vast majority of pastors (90 percent) said their churches would welcome a sermon about racial reconciliation. But almost three-quarters of pastors — 73 percent — say they have not been encouraged by church leaders to preach about reconciliation. A quarter (26 percent) said they have been urged to address the issue from the pulpit.

Interest in discussing matters of race varies across denominations, researchers found.

Pentecostal (93 percent) and Baptist (92 percent) pastors are more likely to say their congregations would be open to a reconciliation sermon. But they’re less likely to have been asked by church leaders to preach one. Just 17 percent of Baptist ministers and one-fifth of Pentecostal pastors said they’ve been urged to preach on the subject.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service