It takes just $60 to save a preborn baby from abortion. But with nearly a million babies facing abortion this year, we must act now. Your $60 gift today will provide an ultrasound to a mother considering abortion and help her choose life. Don’t delay, save a life.

Choose the amount you'd like to give.

It takes just $60 to save a preborn baby from abortion. Your gift today will provide an ultrasound to a mother considering abortion and help her choose life.

Choose the amount
you'd like to give.

Five Fears That Keep Pastors From Preaching About Abortion

Man preaching from a bible
Many pastors are unwilling to engage the issue of abortion from the pulpit. The result is that these pastors abandon their congregations on this issue, leaving the narrative to be written by the world.

I recently found myself in a discussion with an extended family member about parenting. This loved one turned to me and said, “I never wanted to tell my children what to believe.” To which I responded immediately, “Why not? Everyone else is trying to tell your children what to believe. Why wouldn’t you want to?”

From television to advertising, teachers, peers, news media and social media, children are constantly bombarded with messages about what to believe.

Unfortunately, this is often the subconscious approach many pastors take about the issue of abortion and the church. For varying reasons, pastors don’t want to tell their church what to believe on this vital issue of justice, equality and the glory of God.

The reality is that everyone is trying to tell God’s people what to believe about this issue. Why wouldn’t those charged by God to instruct His people in the Scriptures be instructing them with the truth?

A great axiom of ministry is, “As the pulpit goes, so goes the church.” The preaching of God’s Word in a church dictates how the people view the Scriptures and its teaching. More specifically, what is emphasized from the pulpit is often most embraced and embodied by God’s people.

I’ve seen this dynamic play out over and over again. This realization is a heavy weight for any pastor to bear – deciding what to preach on, and what not to.

Over the course of 11 years in pastoral ministry, and another two years as the director of a pro-life ministry, I have had many conversations with pastors about preaching on the sanctity of human life and abortion. Far too often, I have found that pastors are unwilling to engage the issue of abortion in their churches from the pulpit. Usually, it’s fear driving their decision. The result is that these pastors abandon their congregations on this issue, leaving the narrative to be written by the world.

From my discussions, I’ve found common fears that most pastors wrestle with. Here are five to consider:

“My congregation will think I’m being political.”

I’m always shocked every time I hear these words uttered, but it happens more than I’d like to admit. A good friend of mine said, “If your church believes this is primarily a political issue, who taught them that? You’re the teacher. Correct them.”

Otherwise rock-solid, biblically based preachers will convince themselves that because this issue has political out-workings, and happens to be one of the most divisive issues in our culture, the discussion doesn’t belong in the church. Yet this issue is an unequivocally biblical concern of ultimate importance. What’s at stake? The truth about the glory of God displayed in the lives of His image bearers.

“I do not want to be pegged as a crazy right-wing conservative.”

We live in a culture that embraces a philosophic pluralism in which tolerance is the highest virtue. The issue of abortion instantly conjures up images of billboards, protests and the “eccentric pro-lifer.” No group in our society has consistently been as stereotyped by media outlets as more intolerant than the crazy “right-wing conservatives.” To associate with this group can be virtually akin to wearing a scarlet letter, particularly within urban contexts that tend to be socially liberal.

Subsequently, many young pastors fear being thought of as out of touch or extreme if they address abortion. They convince themselves that it’s better to not address abortion at all so it won’t get in the way of really preaching the Gospel.

John Piper shared with me in an interview that he experienced the pressure of not wanting to be a partisan, politically-oriented preacher. Yet he saw a beautiful opportunity to address this tension.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade fall back to back. So Piper decided to preach a sermon every year on racial harmony and the Gospel, and the following week, a sermon on abortion and the Gospel. This way, he preached one weekend on an issue typically associated with the political left, while the next weekend, preaching on an issue that is associated with the right.

He explained that this gave him an opportunity every year to explain to his church that the Word of God is the standard of truth, not a political ideology or camp. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we preach the truth, regardless of whether it sounds right- or leftward leaning.

Join the Movement to End Abortion

Abortion has devastated the hearts and homes of women, men and families. Join Focus on the Family in the movement to end abortion. Sign the Pledge to #LoveEveryHeartbeat, and mark your calendar for September 26 to witness a transformational online pro-life event!
Sign the Pledge

“I feel inadequate to address the issue of abortion.”

Being a pastor of a church will stretch anyone. The demands are high and the time a pastor has for study is usually limited. Well-meaning pastors often fear they aren’t well versed enough in the issue of abortion to address it from the pulpit.

This may be the case, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. There are resources available to help you become sufficiently equipped to address this issue with truth and compassion if you will avail yourself of them. Resist the tendency to shy away from this issue because it might require you to study the Scriptures and face the reality of what abortion is and does to women and men. It is certainly easier to stick your head in the sand, but keep in mind that in so doing, you may also forgo the remarkable opportunity to see God heal, restore, correct and admonish His people.

“I’m already overwhelmed, and I know if I preach on the issue of abortion, it will open the floodgates of hurt and bondage, and I won’t be able to handle the fallout of the sermon.”

Whenever I have preached on the issue of abortion, I have had women after the service come to tell me they had an abortion, or had been affected by abortion in some way. Their stories are heartbreaking. There is much healing and work to be done after a sermon. It is only the beginning.

Pastors intuitively know this and are acutely aware of the potential depth of impact preaching on abortion will have. Instead of addressing the hurt and bondage of those in the congregation, some pastors choose to ignore it altogether because they feel completely overwhelmed already with pastoral care demands.

To these pastors, I would encourage you to trust in the sustaining grace of our great God. Do not suppress the conviction of the Spirit to preach on this issue. It is often in our times of greatest need that the Lord’s provisional glory is seen most clearly.

Pray the Lord would send somebody to come alongside you to help. Develop a relationship with your local pregnancy center, as they often have post-abortive healing classes. Do some preparation before preaching: Have a plan as to how you will minister to women and men affected by this issue, and then trust God with the outcome.

“I am afraid I will alienate and drive away women who have had abortions.”

Silence speaks. Silence on the issue of abortion communicates that this is an issue not to be discussed because it’s either too shameful or too difficult to address. If you choose not to preach about this issue, those affected by abortion are implicitly told to also keep this area of their life in the shadows. They are silently alienated. They are emotionally driven away.

Some fears are good, provided they don’t paralyze us. The fear of being hit by a car prevents us from running out into the street without looking. This is good. But there are times when we must cross the street to get where we need to go. If this is the case, what do we do? We go to the crosswalk, we look both directions, and we cross safely.

The fear of not wanting to hurt someone in your congregation is a good fear. This fear can cause you to pause, think it through and proceed cautiously. But if this fear keeps you from ever preaching on this issue, your inaction will actually hurt those in your church who need to hear the hope of the Gospel applied to a major issue in their lives.

Statistical research consistently reveals that the issue of abortion has massively affected people in our churches. It brings with it shame, condemnation and bondage. Preach in such a way that you invite people who have been affected by abortion to be honest and open. Then, by God’s grace, pray not only for them to experience the forgiveness of Christ, but also His freedom and healing.

Mark Campbell was a church planter in the Washington, D.C., area, and served as a pastor in various roles for over 10 years before moving to Louisville, Kentucky. He founded The Vox Project in 2014.

This article originally appeared on

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Focus on the Family Plugged In logo

Entertainment Reviews Your Family Can Trust

Plugged In shines a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving families the essential tools they need to understand, navigate, and impact the culture in which they live. Let us help your family make wise and informed choices about movies, TV shows, music, video games, and more!
Close up of a young, pensive Asian woman listening to someone talking to her on her phone

Talk to a Counselor

If you need further guidance and encouragement, we have a staff of licensed, professional counselors who offer a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective. They can also refer you to counselors in your area for ongoing assistance.
Reach a counselor toll-free at 1-855-771-HELP (4357).

Understand How to Respect and Love Your Son Well

"Why doesn’t my son listen to me?" Have you ever asked yourself that? The truth is, how you view your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. We’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Focus on Parenting Podcast

Mom or dad, could you use some encouragement and support? Put your ear buds in for this Christian parenting podcast and get practical, faith-based inspiration through all stages of parenting. Hosted by Dr. Danny Huerta, in every 8 to 15 minute episode, you’ll hear parenting experts share Biblical truths, effective parenting techniques, and useful resources that will help you feel equipped as a mom or dad in today’s culture.
Parenting a strong-willed child resource promotion

Learn How to Speak Your Strong-Willed Child's Language

In this free 6-part video series, Cynthia Tobias, author of many popular parenting books including You Can’t Make Me, explains why your strong-willed child thinks in certain ways and gives you effective tools you can use when communicating with him or her. Start today!

Get Equipped With the Truth So
You Can Bring Light to the Lies

Abortion is not an easy subject to talk about. You want to defend the truth, to expose the realities so easily confused during these times. Yet, it is so easy to tense up, to get nervous, to get so concerned with wanting to say the “right thing” that you end up saying nothing at all. If you feel at a loss when these conversations come up, this video series, “8 Lies About Abortion,” can help equip you with the truth, and the confidence to engage in the discussion.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.


About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

two people look over a bible, looking up scriptures about race.

11 Scriptures About Race

What does the Bible say about race? The Bible hosts a variety of scriptures about race. They can be found in both the Old and New Testaments.