How To Hit The Hot Topics In Your Ministry

I’m not particularly eager to get political, and I’m not going to start today, but the situation in Ukraine with Russia has my attention. And I know I’m not alone. Almost everyone is talking about it, my kids are discussing it at school, and the other day on the way to work, the hosts on the morning sports radio station were sharing their thoughts. It’s an important issue that impacts many people, many of whom are a part of your ministry. So what does that mean?

The purpose of the Church is not to get political, and I think we have been learning that the hard way these past few years. But, when something impacts your community and consumes their attention, it’s good to be prepared. Your ministry does not have to address all the hot and trending topics of the world, but when it does, it is critical to do it right and start with:


When we don’t have words to express how we feel or what we should do, it’s a sign that the Holy Spirit is needed. No matter the dilemma or situation, when the faithful gather in prayer, God is a part of the process, and peace is always possible.

Before you address anything as a community, it’s critical to start with prayer. The prayer could be simple, like the Divine Mercy Chaplet or a Lectio Divina, and the prayer could involve music or silent Eucharistic Adoration. No matter what you do, it’s essential to teach your community that prayer is a significant first step in difficult times and conversations. God is willing to get down into the trenches with us and wrestle through these situations. After all, it’s not the first time He’s done that.


Some situations are more complex than others. Emotions can come out in ways we don’t expect, and you can never be sure what will trigger those feelings. When entering into any discussion or conversation, it’s important to remember to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

No matter the format of the gathering, set the tone before anyone begins. Provide a guide that lets people know when to speak and listen. Make sure you give them permission to be authentic and respect other people’s emotions.

Your church can be a safe place for difficult conversations, but people have first to know it’s safe to share what they feel and think. Create a safe space where voices can be heard, but every individual is shown respect, even if what they share is a little hard to swallow.


Don’t be afraid to call in a professional to lead the conversation. It can be an expert on mediation or the specific subject you are discussing. The other benefit of bringing an outsider is that it allows you to maintain your role as a pastoral leader. Even if you have a background in counseling, therapy, or conflict mediation, an outsider will enable you to stay supportive and loving to those you shepherd.

Your parish doesn’t have to address every issue in the world, and it probably shouldn’t even try because no one can talk about everything at a high level. However, when something big is capturing the attention of your mission field, it’s good to let people know the Church cares. When the Church is present, it’s a sign that God is too, and in the end, what better gift than to let someone know that they don’t have to go through life alone.

How do you all deal with hot topics or important issues?

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