The Top 50 Unspoken Struggles Your Sermons Don’t Solve


Image Courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On Friday I released the The Top 5 Unspoken Struggles in Your Church and it was the most viewed post in the month of May! They were as follows:

1. Guilt
2. Parenting
3. Extra Marital Affairs
4. Anger
5. Sexual Sin

Today, as promised, I’m releasing The 50 Top Unspoken Struggles Your Sermons Don’t Solve. To clarify (I’m including myself in this clarification) why our sermons are not helping people with many of these struggles has nothing to do with our delivery, technique or communication style.  I personally believe it is because we are unaware of the complexity of issues people are facing when truth is absent from their lives.

The following list was not gathered through any proven scientific method or official survey, but was instead collected from notes over 200 struggling people nailed to a Cross as they looked to God for relief of the burdens they have been carrying in some cases all their lives.  My hope is that you will take these findings and broaden the topics of your sermons to include some of the hard core issues people are struggling with. Also, the first 20 issues were written down multiple times. Beyond that each issue that made the Top 50 was mentioned at least one time.  I’ve made notes when I thought it would be helpful to you.

6. Dishonoring Parents – A majority of these responses were from adults that have not spoken to their parents in years
7. Addiction – Drug & Alcohol Abuse
8. Victim of Abuse
9. Marriage/Relationships
10. Selfishness
11. Unforgiveness
12. Finances
13. Divorce
14. Lying
15. Lack of Faith
16. Pain – Emotional Hurt
17. Abortion – Both men and woman struggling with the guilt associated with having an abortion
18. Child’s Death
19. Bad Decisions
20. Spiritual Disciplines – Bible Reading , Prayer, Church Attendance
21. Bad Character
22. Better Spouse – I did not include this with the topic of marriage because I didn’t want to lose this angle with such a broad topic
23.  Broken Family
24.  Comparison
25.  Denial
26.  Personal Failure – Career
27.  Falsehood
28.  Fear
29.  Feelings of Inadequacy
30. Forgiveness – Seeking forgiveness from others
31. Fruit of the Spirit – I thought this was an interesting response being that there are least 9 things people could be struggling with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I guess I could expand the list to 59!
32. Future
33. Greed
34. Hatred
35. Hidden Secrets
36. Impure Thoughts
37. Insecurity
38. Jealousy
39. Lack of Trust
40. Laziness
41. Envy
42. Low Self Esteem
43. Pride
44. Regret
45. Resentment
46. Self Hate
47. Sexuality
48. Stealing
49. Suicidal Thoughts
50. Wasting Talents

You may see that many of these struggles are connected and possibly even the same issue, yet I thought it would be helpful for you to see how people label their individual struggles. You also may be focusing on the same things sermon after sermon and I hope this list will provide insight into some other struggles you can address and help people apply the truth of God’s word to in their lives.

Lastly, please leave a comment if this list surprised you in any way or it’s what you expected. If I could help you anyway by addressing one of these topics in my blog let me know and I’ll include it in a future post.

5 comments

  1. Wow, this is very telling Dean. Thanks for gathering and sharing this. I think what stands out to me is how much people are battling . It can be easy to look at a crowd of people as a pastor and think, “What could I possibly say that people need to hear?” Looking at this list is a healthy reminder what people are facing.

    Maybe #51 is “Finding the Healing, Wholeness and Freedom in Christ promised to me in the Word.”

    1. I know sometimes as Pastors we communicate the same issues people face over and over again such as finances, marriage & family, health…hopefully this will help pastors expand that list.

    2. I think we can get in a thought pattern that the only struggles people go through our financial, physical and relational. A lot of these are deep personal issues that need to be hit on, so we can get beyond the obvious. The one that surprised me the most was adult children dishonoring parents, but the more I think about it the more you see and hear about it all the time.

  2. That is quite a list and I sure the list can go on much further. We as Pastors need wisdom on how we can teach and disciple people through these things.

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