Many of us remember our seminary preaching classes that included critique from our peers and professors. In fact, I still remember the negatives my classmates pointed out after I had preached—and I took that class almost thirty years ago! Still, I think all of us who preach regularly need to have a team that evaluates our preaching. Here’s why:
- None of us is a perfect preacher. We know that’s the case, but we still don’t regularly invite critique and seek improvement. We act as if we don’t need to improve much if we reject opportunities for evaluation.
- We need to know whether we’re connecting with our congregations. Just because we feel good about our sermon doesn’t mean the congregation heard it as we intended. Talking with others who listen intently to our messages can tell us a lot.
- We model humility by seeking input from others. Within most of our churches are staff members, small group leaders, and Bible study teachers who themselves can improve through critique. They’re more likely to get on board with the process if we pastors are leading the way.
- We can only assume how others hear our sermons if we don’t ask. Sure, some may tell us how much they appreciate our preaching, but we still don’t know what others think without asking them.
- Folks who don’t like our preaching are less likely to tell us. They may tell others behind our back, but they’re often reticent to be that honest with us. A sermon evaluation group that speaks with integrity can address this omission.
- Few of us are so self-aware that we can fully critique our own sermons. No matter how self-aware we think we are, it’s always difficult to evaluate our own work without bias.
- The Word of God is worth our intentional improvement. No matter how long we’ve preached, we can still grow in communication skills. Our gospel message is so important that all of us should want to continually improve.
Pastors, I’m asking you to help us via your comments. Do you use a sermon evaluation team? If so, who are they? What process do you use?