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Division, tension and conflict has always been part of life in a fallen world, but it feels as if it has only increased over the past years. How can preachers address contentious issues in a gracious yet truthful way? How can we balance the tightrope as we attempt to offering a unifying word to a divided congregation? 

Drs Matthew Kim and Paul Hoffman offer seven steps towards preaching that  a seven-step model for promoting reconciliation that unifies rather than causes unnecessary division

1. The Theological Step: The Sins of Pride and Prejudice

2. The Contextual Step: America’s Past and Present Reality

3. The Personal Step: Facing Our Sin and Acknowledging Our Prejudices

4. The Positional Step: We Are Heralds, Not Heart-Changers

5. The Methodological Step: A Homiletic for Reconciliation and Unity

6. The Practical Step: Pre-Sermon, Mid-Sermon, and Post-Sermon Practices

7. The Categorical Step: Biblical Themes and Texts

 “Preaching has become something of a dreaded task. With self-appointed authorities declaring on social media what pastors should and should not address–and telling people to leave their churches if pastors don’t say the supposed right thing–the pastor bears the impossible task of speaking God’s Word to a disinterested and divided world. In a day where cultural land mines abound, the preacher can either dismiss the concerns of her congregation as invalid or irrelevant or become a prisoner to the narratives and perspectives of the moment. Kim and Hoffman give us a better way. They excavate a treasury of theological resources to address the chief causes of division and map the terrain of our cultural dynamics and historical context. They teach us to become aware of our own lens as preachers and to rely on the Spirit to breathe the Word of God to the people of God. The result is a stunning, scholarly, current, and critical guide for preachers to take seriously the complexity of preaching in a rapidly changing world.”

Glenn Packiam 

Matthew D. Kim (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is professor of practical theology and holder of the Hubert H. and Gladys S. Raborn Chair of Pastoral Leadership at Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. He previously served as the George F. Bennett Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology, director of the Haddon W. Robinson Center for Preaching, and director of Mentored Ministry at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is a past president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and has over twenty years of preaching and teaching experience. Kim has written or edited many books, including Preaching to People in Pain (winner of a Christianity Today 2022 Book Award) and Preaching with Cultural Intelligence (the 2018 Preaching magazine Book of the Year). 

Paul A. Hoffman (PhD, University of Manchester) is senior pastor of Evangelical Friends Church of Newport, Rhode Island. He serves on the Oversight Board for the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region, is an adjunct professor at Barclay College, and is the author of Reconciling Places: How to Bridge the Chasms in Our Communities

Recommended Resources: 

Preaching to a Divided Nation: 

Ministers of Reconciliation : 

Matthew Kim Bibliography: 

Suggested Episodes:

Alan Stoddard reflects on lessons learned from Haddon Robinson: 

James Travis on maintaining unity in multicultural congregations: 

Eric Cartier on the power of connection:

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