Monday, December 27, 2010
A good example of using statistics in the pulpit
One of the fun things with writing a book is hearing how people respond to it. This week a pastor in St. Joseph, MI posted a thoughtful review of my book here. What impressed me in his review were his own thoughts about how to use statistics in his preaching. He describes well, so I'll just quote the relevant sections:
"One example in which Dr. Wright challenges Barna’s writing is in the off repeated statistic that Christians get divorced as often as non-Christians. I’ve bored my friends and colleagues for years telling them this is simply not true! When I ask, “Is this true among the Christians you know?” they admit it isn’t, but they assume the statistic is true because someone wrote it down. As you can imagine, that does not make it true.
I’m a preacher myself, but I refuse to use statistics unless they both make sense and can be validated—otherwise I make it clear to my hearers that I am aware statistics are only as valid as the research on which they are based."
I appreciate his thoughtfulness in using data in his teaching, and I think it's a good example for other preachers as well.