(ChurchLeaders) Despite all the race-related conversations Americans are having lately, more pastors say they’re reluctant to address the topic in sermons compared to four years ago. In a new study from LifeWay Research, 74 percent of pastors agree their congregation would welcome a sermon about racial reconciliation. That’s down from 90 percent in a similar 2016 study.
According to the new research, 16 percent of pastors haven’t preached about racial reconciliation in the past two years. Back in 2016, 7 percent of pastors said their church members wouldn’t want to hear about racial reconciliation; now that number is up to 17 percent.
Responses were tallied by ethnicity, church size, and denomination. Ninety-three percent of African-American pastors indicate a willingness to give a sermon about race, compared to 73 percent of white pastors. Church leaders with worship attendance of 250 or more are the most likely to say a race-related sermon would be welcomed. And based on denomination, Methodists (83 percent are most likely to say such a message would be welcomed; they’re followed by Presbyterians/Reformed (79percent), Pentecostals (78 percent), Baptists (74 percent), and Lutherans (59 percent)).