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Don’t Photoshop Your Sermons

There is increasing media attention regarding the use (or some would say abuse) of the graphics editing program Photoshop in magazines and print ads.

Some say that these edited photos paint an unrealistic picture of beauty and promote unhealthy lifestyles as teens and young women strive to look like the digitally enhanced women they see in their favorite magazine. There are several viral videos that have sprung up on YouTube giving a behind-the-scenes look at how these Photoshop transformations take place.

Many magazines employ in-house graphic artists to perform “digital surgery” on models to remove any perceived flaws from their photos and enhance certain “assets” to make them seem more appealing to the general public. The ultimate goal is to sell more magazines and make more money.

Sadly, there are far too many preachers who have employed the same methodology in their preaching. They consistently engage in what I call “Photoshop preaching.”

They remove the difficult or less appealing portions of scripture and only highlight passages or themes that are appealing to the general public. They are all to willing and eager to scratch the “itching ears” of those who do not want to endure sound doctrine (2 Tim 4:3).

In a nutshell, Photoshop preaching is preaching that manipulates the gospel for personal gain or to appease the hearers, and, just like the Photoshop software, these preachers have certain tools they use to achieve their goal.

Here are five popular Photoshop tools that are also common in Photoshop preaching.

1. Cropping.

The cropping tool in Photoshop allows the user to select a particular area of an image and discard any portions outside of the selected area.

Photoshop preachers love to crop the text. They select happy passages on health and wealth and ignore other biblical themes such as holiness, righteousness and justice. You rarely ever hear words such as “sin” or “hell” in Photoshop preaching. In the cropping process, they hardly ever make the cut!

Some Photoshop preachers have gone as far as to exclude entire books of the Bible from their preaching; some even exclude the entire Old Testament!

It is impossible to preach the “whole gospel” if we crop out the portions that do not suit our fancy. When we cut out portions of scripture, we are effectively cropping Christ—or at least our understanding of who He is.

2. Slicing.

The second Photoshop tool that is employed by many preachers is slicing.

The slice tool is similar to the cropping feature. It can be used to divide an image into different sections, and it allows sliced sections of an image to be adjusted and shifted.

Photoshop preachers consistently slice scripture. They adjust and shift their sliced sections of scripture to convey their desired message instead of God’s intended message. They only offer the congregation a “slice” of the gospel—instead of the whole pie.

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Dr. Tejado W. Hanchell (TWH_PhD) is a 21st century “leadership liaison” whose passion is to help connect people and organizations to their purpose. He is a coach, consultant, and counselor and is a leading strategist on leadership and succession planning for churches, non-profit organizations and corporations. Dr. Hanchell has over 15 years of leadership experience and brings a wealth of wisdom to help enhance lives and increase productivity. He currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Mount Calvary Holy Church of Winston-Salem, NC (“The Church Committed to do MORE”) – the “Mother Church” of the Mount Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc., where Dr. Hanchell also serves as General Secretary and International Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry under the leadership of Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr.