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Apple Watch photo by Crew via Unsplash CC0

I’m not a professionally trained preacher like many of you. I am, however, an experienced sermon listener. I’ve heard thousands of messages preached from hundreds of pastors. I’ve been listening to pastors teach for nearly 30 years, going back to my days as a high school student when I became a Christ-follower.

Because of that, I can’t speak to how you study, craft and deliver your messages. I can only speak to what I hear and apply to my life.

With that, may I be open and honest with you? I know some of what I’m going to share reveals my immaturity as a Christ-follower. I’m still taking steps, too.

Here are some of my observations:

  • I remember more of the messages you build around a topic than the ones built around a Bible passage.
  • I’m a visual learner, so it helps me when you use objects or pictures to support your message.
  • At best, I’m probably only going to remember one key point.
  • It’s very unlikely that I’m going to hear every message in your series, so it helps when you catch me up to speed before you move on.
  • I find that it’s easier to apply the teaching when there’s a specific challenge at the end of the message.
  • My brain begins to wander when you talk for more than 30 minutes.
  • When you are intense in your delivery through the entire message, I get worn out.
  • I have a sense of humor, and it’s kind of important that you demonstrate that as well. Humor helps me stay engaged.
  • I’m a church consultant, but many times I’m still confused when you reference other churches or other pastors.
  • I’m not a fan of the “preacher voice.”
  • I don’t expect you to have all the answers. In fact, I like it when you challenge me with specific passages or verses I can study on my own.
  • Many times it feels like I’m hearing the same message over and over again. I’ve learned that I need a team to help me be creative in my content delivery. You may need a team to help you, too.
  • I’m probably going to remember a personal story before I remember a particular principle.
  • I can tell when you haven’t prepared appropriately.

I hope this encourages you to take your next steps in your preaching. This is the one core area of ministry that any pastor at any size church can proactively change and improve. In fact, it doesn’t even require a deacon vote!

I do, however, think you’re more likely to change and improve if you build a team, develop and execute a teaching strategy and then proactively seek constructive criticism. Invite people you trust to debrief your messages by asking these four simple questions:

  1. What worked?

  2. What was wrong?

  3. What was confusing?

  4. What was missing?

That feedback should help you take your next steps.

This is the one core area of ministry that any pastor at any size church can proactively change & improve today. Click To Tweet Take your next steps in your #preaching. It might need to be one of these: Click To Tweet


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