Engaging in Difficult Conversations with Joel Hunter

Engaging in Difficult Conversations
Conversation with: Joel Hunter

In this video Conversation, Joel Hunter talks about the need for courage—both from church leaders and believers—to engage in difficult conversations.

To discuss this video, see "On Engaging in Difficult Conversations" on Science & the Sacred.

Video Transcription

When you wander into some of these issues that have become politicized and polarized, then there are going to be people who leave the church, and I have had people who I have taught for 15 or 20 years just get up and walk out of the church because they say, "I don't want to hear about this. I came to hear about my Jesus. I need something that is just not controversial, and I need to know that when you come down on an issue, you're going to come down on what I just heard from Glenn Beck." And when that doesn't happen, then they leave.

I immediately think two things. First of all, if this makes them that uneasy, then this probably isn't the right place for them because we are going to face some difficult issues together. That's what life is. That's what love is. You go through difficult times together. And if that will break up the relationship, then better now than later.

The other thing I think is that these people aren't lost to the kingdom. They're not going to stop believing in Jesus because I address something controversial. So it's probably better not only for them, but for the church because I want to have a church that can expand into some of these arenas that Evangelicals have not heretofore been in. That's part of our duty as Christians. That's part of the voice we need to have in major issues, and it's part of our Evangelism, frankly, to work with people that have not ever been close to an Evangelical before.

I just think it's probably better for them, probably better for the church, and I'm not surprised when there's a reshuffling. There's always a price. For every action, there's always an equal and opposite reaction. Every time you do something that you know is right, you should always know it's going to cost something. Any time you do something that is going to make a difference, you know that there's going to be a reaction to that. So you just need to be prepared for that, and you need not to let that specter make you a coward.

I pray for courage in the pulpit. People think that courage is a matter of yelling at people who don't conform. That's not the only courage there is. Courage is going places the church has not been before and seeing God in places where you've never looked for him previously. So I pray for that for the church.