8 Reasons Many Folks Never Tell Us if Our Preaching is Boring

First, a caveat: I know some church members are more than willing to tell us their thoughts about our preaching.  Too often, though, folks aren’t always honest with us when they’re bored with our preaching. Here are some reasons why:

  1. They really do love us, and they don’t want to hurt us. They know that talking to a preacher about his preaching is to speak into a central part of who he is. Rather than risk wounding us, they simply choose to be quiet.
  2. They’re willing to quietly tolerate less-than-the-best preaching because they know we love them. When we’ve ministered to church members by sacrificially giving ourselves over the years, they know we care – so, again, they don’t want to hurt us.
  3. They respect the call and position of the pastor. Even if they struggle paying attention to our sermons, they still won’t say anything. They wouldn’t dare speak against God’s leader who stands in the pulpit.
  4. They’ve never known a pastor who honestly asked for feedback on sermons. The whole idea is almost foreign to many church members. They’ll talk among themselves about their boredom, but not with their pastor.
  5. Their own sinfulness makes them question their right to speak to us. They know they don’t always listen to the preaching anyway. When they do listen, they don’t always obey the Word. Guilt keeps them silent.
  6. Sometimes, it seems easier to leave the church under the guise of, “We weren’t being fed” than it is to speak to the pastor. I’ve written about why this reasoning in leaving a church often lacks warrant, but we still use it as a means to avoid painful honesty.
  7. They assume we already recognize when we’re “not on.” To be honest, we often do—but not always. Only once in my life have I met a boring preacher/professor who recognized he was boring. We need folks who respect us and love us to speak truth to us.
  8. They’re not sure we’ll listen. In some cases, that’s because they’ve seen a pattern in our lives: we bow up defensively whenever anyone questions any area of our ministry. We don’t take criticism well.

Beginning with me, all of us need believers who respect us and love us enough to help us evaluate our sermons – and, we must be willing to enlist them and hear their feedback. Even when it hurts.


  • mark says:

    Sometimes the younger people are the ones who think the sermons are boring. Some are told (ordered) not to say that the preaching is boring. Their parents do not want to be blamed for causing a rift in the church and will defend the preacher even when they tune the preacher out. If the preacher is the same age of the parents, then that is a peer and people don’t criticize peers. If the preacher is older, it is not done under the old respect of elders, even when those elderly people are running the young people out of the church and the faith. Also, the parents sometimes blame their kids for not trying to get more out of the sermon and just wanting to be spoon fed. Also, the leadership in many churches controls the preacher so if the leadership is happy, then nothing is going to change. The leadership is typically older people and only listen to the older people who are their friends. No preacher who wants to remain in the job will upset the leadership and the older people.

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    You forgot one. May be they do not know any better. They have always sat under boring preachers, preachers who did not really engage them with their preaching and teaching. This may explain why their lives are no different from their unchurched neighbor who sleeps in on Sunday mornings. They subscribe to heretical beliefs like Jesus was a created being. They may attend church out of long habit, showing up on Sundays to socialize, listen to the choir, and to take communion. The sermon is just the prelude to the main event–communion. They may not even want to hear sermons from a preacher that challenges them to live the life of a follower of Jesus Christ.

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