In an article for, Bob Russell says, “For years I boasted to our congregation that I only preached on stewardship once annually. When that dreaded sermon came, I apologized at the beginning: ‘If you’re visiting with us today, please understand that we only preach on giving once a year.’ In essence I said, ‘I’m sorry you’ve chosen to come today—I know this subject is a downer. Please come back anyway, and I promise you’ll not hear another sermon on money for 51 weeks!’

“It’s easy to understand why we tiptoe around the subject of stewardship. Money is still a god to many church members, and many visitors are skeptical of the church’s motives. Certain spiritual con men have fleeced their congregations and given preachers a bad name, and we don’t want to be identified with them.

“Even though preaching on money turns some people off, some are turned off when we preach on adultery or forgiveness, too. But we don’t apologize: ‘If you’re having an affair, please understand we seldom talk about sexual purity. Come back next week and you’ll be more comfortable.’ We don’t print a disclaimer in the bulletin: ‘The preacher will be talking about releasing resentment today. Please understand this sermon is for our members only. If you’re visiting today, you aren’t expected to forgive. If you’re currently harboring a grudge, earplugs are provided.’

“About a decade ago, I changed my philosophy from apologizing for teaching on a touchy subject to making it an essential part of my preaching calendar.”

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