I received this email recently. It’s a question I’ve been asked before, so I decided to share my answer here.
Dear Pastor Ron,
Can I, as a pastor, preach about a subject that I know I’m struggling with or know that I’m weak in that area?
(Name changed for anonymity.)
Here is my reply:
Dear Pastor Bob,
In my opinion, yes. In fact, you must in order to teach the whole counsel of God.
Consider the issue in simple terms. You preach about sin, right? If you are normal, you still struggle with sin also. You can’t avoid the subject because you haven’t mastered it. In the end, we preach the risen Christ as our only hope anyway.
Here’s another similar question I’ve heard. Can single pastors preach on marriage? Of course, single pastors can and should preach on marriage. Pastors should also preach on parenting even if they aren’t a parent. Again, it’s the whole counsel of God.
The key is you can’t claim expertise and you shouldn’t hide the fact that it’s an area of struggle. People will endear to you more if you are honest anyway. That doesn’t mean you have to share intimate details, but you shouldn’t hide your own frailty. Be honest with people, don’t pretend to be anyone you are not, and preach where God leads you to preach.
The fact is, if I could only preach on that which I have mastered, I wouldn’t preach very much.
So, how would you answer?