This past weekend, I preached the Word at one of my favorite churches. Over the years, I’ve connected with several congregations to which I LOVE to go preach. Here’s why those churches so motivate me:
- They come excitedly and expectantly. I can tell when I walk in the room that they’re expecting God to do something. I don’t get that sense in every church.
- I believe them when they say, “We’ve been praying for you and the work this day.” Their words are not just perfunctory; they mean it when they say they’ve been praying.
- They bring their Bibles with them. Their Bibles may be hard copies or electronic copies, but these congregations bring the Word with them.
- They pay attention. I realize I could be deceiving myself here, but I can usually tell when a crowd isn’t with me. That’s not these churches.
- They take notes. Believers who take notes are saying, “I want to hear a word from God and remember it.” They want to apply what they've learned.
- They’re willing to participate in the sermon. They listen well. They respond to questions. They talk to me while I’m preaching. They say, “Amen!” Their enthusiasm makes me want to preach more.
- They are appropriately quiet. They know when it’s time just to let the Word settle in. They silently worship the Lord then, even if only for a few minutes.
- They’re not worried about the clock. I’m sensitive to finishing at the right time, but these churches aren’t worried about the clock. If they get a message from God’s Word, they’ll stick around.
- Their students/youth are also pumped about hearing the Word. It's amazing to watch the next generations catch fire for the Lord.
- They publicly respond. I realize that many churches don’t have a public response time, but my favorite churches do have some kind of public response. Often, their folks fill the altar area for prayer.
- They look forward to the next time. That time may not even be scheduled yet, but they verbalize their excitement about it–they want to affirm the speaker so he, too, wants to come back.
- They’re grateful. I leave there believing that God has used me to speak to hungry people who are glad we took the time to visit with them. That’s a great feeling.
Preachers, what would you add to this list?