Sensitive Preaching to the Sexually Hurting

December 20, 2016 | Comments Off on Sensitive Preaching to the Sexually Hurting

Here’s a topic we don’t see in a lot of books or seminary classrooms – preaching on sexual pain. Dr. Sam Serio (DMin), a Christian counselor, pastor, author, and speaker, is well-equipped to train pastors and teachers on this sensitive topic. Serio estimates that 60 to 80 percent of all adults (sixteen years or older) in our churches are emotionally affected by sexual pain or sin that has been done by them or to them. He’s probably not far off. So why do our seminaries not address this topic? Why do our pastors not teach on it? His premise is that we should and we must. And he provides a powerful template for doing just that.

Serio begins Sensitive Preaching to the Sexually Hurting (Kregel Academic) with an overview of “who’s in your pews.”  Although it may seem extreme, having ministered to the sexually broken for over 30 years, I don’t think he’s exaggerating. You probably have a smaller cross section of broken people in your small group. He speaks of the pain of those who have been affected by casual sex, abortion, sexual assault and rape, childhood sexual abuse and molestation, pornography, same-sex attraction, homosexuality, and even sexless marriage.

Serio then offers suggestions about how to prepare your church to address sexual issues – without losing your job. He then suggests that rather than crafting a whole sermon (or small group lesson) around one sexual issue, that you begin the habit of weaving a paragraph or three into your teaching on a passage so it becomes an ongoing and more natural part of the conversation. And he teaches how to do it with grace and sensitivity rather than condemnation.

Valuable Templates

Perhaps the most valuable part of the book is that he doesn’t simply suggest you ought to talk about these issues. He actually identifies several passages where each topic might fit in naturally and then provides a template for the actual words to say in three to four paragraphs. He suggests how you weave these paragraphs into your sermon or teaching. After reading the book, the concept and tempo of weaving sexual topics into your teaching can become more natural.

If you preach or teach, this is a valuable and timely book. However, it can be heavy when taken in large bites. I suggest no more than a chapter at a time. Maybe less. Especially if you haven’t dealt with your own sexual brokenness. My only criticism is that it becomes a bit redundant, and therefore tedious. However, this is useful for those who select a topic rather than reading the book straight through. All in all, it’s a great resource for your bookshelf.


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