A desire for growth demands a desire for feedback. Whether you’ve preached five sermons or five hundred sermons, the Lord continues to grow us. And this sphere of growth happens both on the front end of preparation as well as on the back end of evaluation. The sermon doesn’t end when you say “Amen.” We all know that, right? The Lord works by his Spirit to help the flock apply the sermon. And the Spirit and his people help us evaluate the sermon. Don’t worry, you’re not in a preaching class and getting an official number grade. But feedback fuels growth. And growth reflects glory. So in order to faithfully and carefully evaluate a sermon, we want consider both some common errors that preachers typically make as well as what components are essential for a great sermon.
Common Errors in Preaching
That moment when you spouse points out how you always use a certain phrase or when a fellow pastor tells you what your “filler” words are in your preaching – they are our habits of safety, and yet some habits need to broken while other habits need to be established.
Preachers aren’t perfect. And sermons aren’t spotless. Thus, we want to consider the follow common errors often made in preaching. And yes, other pastors and we too often make these. Of course, there’s grace for our mishaps, but let’s grow in light of these common errors:
Central Components for a Great Sermon
We’ve all said it to our pastor (or maybe to ourselves if we are honest) – “that was a great sermon. You (or I) nailed it.” Now, if you’re a pastor, you might often feel a bit awkward with knowing how best to respond to this feedback. And you might also be curious on why your member gave you such encouraging words, maybe to affirm your calling but perhaps to acknowledge some specific strengths in your sermon. In light of perhaps the often tossed around phrase “that was a great sermon!” in the lobby after service, what actually comprises a great sermon?
Let’s consider the following the components of a great sermon. No, this list isn’t exhaustive, but I do hope it exhorts you for “great sermons.”
Careful Evaluation of a Sermon
Friends, we all want to grow in preparing and delivering great sermons. And a desire to grow in this way demands a desire for feedback. Pursue others for feedback after you preach a sermon. Talk with your spouse, other pastors, the flock. Send your sermon to other mentors, pastors, friends. Be willing to receive feedback, both positive and negative. Be intentional to ask helpful question, like the following:
Brothers and sisters, we are meant to be students of the Scriptures and servants of our Savior. We’re called to preach the Word with both great humility and great hope. Consider these common errors and some central components of a great sermon the next time you prepare to preach. And use these questions, and invite others to do so also, to evaluate your sermon. May the Lord help us, grow us, and use us to be faithful preachers of the Word. May our sermons be clear, compelling, communal, and convicting for the good of the church and the glory of our God. Friends, Sunday is coming. Your next opportunity to preach will be here before you know it. Entrust yourself and your sermon to our good and faithful Shepherd.