How’s your preaching? We all want to be effective preachers and grow our churches, but do you know if your congregation is pleased with you in the pulpit? Here are 8 signs that you need to make some changes:
You don’t receive any feedback
Although it’s unhealthy for preachers to live or die by feedback, it’s never a good thing when people are silent about your preaching. If you go several Sundays without hearing anything about your sermons, that may be a sign that your sermons are not cutting the mustard and folks just don’t have the heart to tell you.
Members encourage you to have more guest preachers
I had a preacher complain to me that his church was always asking him to invite other people to preach. Poor guy didn’t know why. I had to break the news to him. It’s always good for your congregation to hear different voices from time to time, but if they frequently request guest preachers it might be a warning sign.
You find large groups of people attending Sunday School but not worship
Many preachers have the problem of Sunday School attendees skipping worship to head to the Waffle House. There’s always that one class, right? However, if you find that it’s more than a handful of people, you may want to do some serious reflecting on your preaching.
During your sermon you hear a great deal of coughing, whispering and other distracting noises
We all deal with the occasional cougher, crying baby or restless child in worship, but if there is a constant state of background noise when you preach something might be wrong. Think about it. When you hear a powerful speaker or preacher you don’t hear a lot of noise from listeners. As they say, “You could hear a pin drop.”
Church members buy you books on preaching
A while back I received a phone call from a preacher who was offended that one of his parishioners had given him a book as a birthday gift. I asked him why. He said, “Because it was your book That’ll Preach! 5 Simple Steps to Your Best Sermon Ever! I guess he doesn’t like my preaching.” I’m always happy to hear that people are buying my books, but my heart went out to him. I believe his suspicion was justified. If parishioners are buying you books on preaching you may want to find out why.
You find sermons of other preachers in your mailbox
If this happens frequently, it can’t be good. Whatever you do, don’t plagiarize those sermons! However, it is not a bad idea to read them over and learn why your parishioners think they are effective.
There is a curious number of people volunteering to be ushers and nursery workers
It always feels great when an abundance of people volunteer at church, but we all know there are particular jobs that get people out of worship. Being an usher or nursery worker are at the top of the list. If there is a waiting list for one of those jobs, it is not a good sign!
Your worship attendance dwindles
This is the most obvious sign that your preaching could improve. Yes, worship attendance often ebbs and flows. But if there is a steady decline in your worship attendance over a reasonable amount of time, the one to blame may be looking at you in the mirror.
All of us can improve our preaching. There is no such thing as the perfect sermon. But bad preaching is bad preaching and nothing drains the life out of a church like bad preaching. The good news is that most pastors can improve their preaching if they have the courage and are willing to do the work.
Here are some tips:
-Find a few people in your church that you respect and trust and ask them give to you honest feedback on your sermons.
-Join a local Toastmasters.
-Seek out preachers you admire and ask them for help.
-Grab a copy of my book That’ll Preach! 5 Simple Steps to Your Best Sermon Ever
-Preorder my forthcoming book Say Something! Simple Ways to Make Your Sermons Matter