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Home » All Resources » Articles on Preaching » Jared Moore, 10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Pastor’s Sermons Better

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Pastor’s Sermons Better

Jared Moore more from this author »

Sacred Cows ebook

Date Published: 2/12/2013
Most people would be surprised there's anything they could do to help. Why don't you tell them?

1. If your pastor is currently doing something ministerial that is not biblically pastoral in nature (primarily praying and teaching), then either you do it, or find someone else who will. Imagine if your pastor had five or ten more hours to prepare each of his sermons per week. Of course they will be better! You will be amazed.

2. Listen attentively as if your listening is an act of worship, because it is. When you listen to God’s Word in submission, you are worshipping God. Whenever you don’t, you’re not worshipping God; and yes, it is sinful for you to ignore the Word of God when it is being preached or taught regardless of whether he is keeping your attention or not.

3. Remember that the sermon is not another media outlet for you to feed your thirst for entertainment.  Don’t “turn the channel” because you’re not being entertained. Furthermore, don’t expect your pastor to do in 10 or less hours of preparation a week what television stations spend millions of dollars on, and hire teams to accomplish: keeping your attention.

4. If possible, get a good night's sleep on Saturday night. Do you know how hard it is to engage a zombie?

5. Pray for your pastor periodically. Let him know on a regular basis that you pray for him. It will encourage him.

6. Don’t keep looking at the cute baby while your pastor is preaching. Don’t you know that a baby is less interesting than the Word of God? Can you not play with the baby after worship? Your pastor can see you! Furthermore, don’t be talking during the sermon; and if someone walks in late, don’t look at them! Focus on the Word of God.

7. If you have an issue with your pastor, or another issue that he will not enjoy, then wait until after he is finished preaching before you bring it to his attention. He needs to focus on his most important task: feeding Christ’s sheep.

8. Evaluate the sermon based on the Bible’s criteria for a sermon, not what your criteria or someone else’s criteria might be. Share with your pastor if you believed that he faithfully preached the Word; it will encourage him. If your pastor is like me, he will feel like a failure over 90% of the time that he steps out of the pulpit and the other 10% of the time that he feels good is because of arrogance.

9. Attend church consistently. Whenever you miss church, even periodically, the thought crosses your pastor’s mind that you are not there because of him or his preaching. If you know that you will miss a Sunday beforehand, let him know. It will help him focus more on preaching instead of considering thoughts crossing his mind concerning why you’re not at church.

10. Don’t go to sleep. Get up and leave before you go to sleep if you cannot stay awake. Your pastor can see you, and the people around you can see and hear you.

What do you think? What would you add to or take away from this list?


Jared has served in pastoral ministry since 2000. He’s currently the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is the author of 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped. Jared is married to Amber and together they have three children. He has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity College of the Bible, an M.A.R. in Biblical Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.Div. in Christian ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a Th.M. in Systematic Theology (ABT) from SBTS, and he’s currently a PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS.

 


February 13, 2013
Praying for you Jared and pastors everywhere, especially @Bill W's pastor. :^] [delete comment]
Excellent article [delete comment]
Bill Williams
February 12, 2013
Prescott, yes, that is a fair summary of what I believe. I appreciate you taking the time to listen. And again, to clarify, I found the article helpful overall, and agreed with the suggestions offered by the author. The purpose of my comments was not to criticize, but to offer some correctives and/or balancing statements to some things the author wrote that I thought could use the correction and balance. Have a great day! [delete comment]
Prescott Jay Erwin
February 12, 2013
Bill Williams: You are, of course, correct about pastor-teachers sharing with apostles, prophets, and evangelists the Eph. 4 task of equipping the saints. I think that Richard Baxter demonstrated in his book "The Reformed Pastor," the ministry of the Word for the equipping of the saints goes far beyond the preaching hour in the worship service. The ministry of the Word does not = the preaching hour, but does certainly include it. Thanks, brother. [delete comment]
Bill Williams
February 12, 2013
@Prescott, yes, I am aware of the passage from Acts 6, and I am quite sure that that is what the author was referring to. But it is important to keep the context in mind. Acts 6 does not say anything whatsoever about pastoral ministry. The text says that that was the specific focus of "the Twelve." Now, of course I believe that pastors should not be distracted from prayer, but my point is that NO ONE should be distracted from prayer. Prayer is no more "primary" to the pastoral calling than it is to the Christian calling in general. Look, I think we all get the main idea, and my comments are mostly about semantics. But I just think it is important to be careful to word things as precisely as possible, if for no other reason than to avoid these kinds of conversations! Also, I agree completely that pastors should not be distracted by excessive church administration. However, I also believe pastors can become distracted by being too busy preparing one or two sermons each week, from what IS their primarily pastoral responsibility: equipping the saints for the work of ministry. At our church, our pastor does not preach every week. The preaching is shared by him, our elders, and a few other gifted lay members who have been trained. This frees up a lot of time for our pastor to work with us one-on-one and in small groups to equip us for ministry. The results from this arrangement have been significant! [delete comment]
Joseph William Rhoads
February 12, 2013
Bill Williams. I too had to re-read the opening paragraph. I do think the author is intending to say, that if your pastor is ministering in a way that is not biblically pastoral (and examples of biblically pastoral items would be praying and teaching).... I don't think he intended to say that praying and teaching are not biblically pastoral. I hope the author does read these comments, so that he may find some useful critique of his writing style. As a pastor who writes occasionally, I enjoy the feedback of people who read my work. I want to be clear has possible and I can write something a bit different so that it causes no confusions, then I welcome the critique. Additionally, the suggestions that he presents are spot on. I believe it's important for pastors to teach these things to their congregation so that they will know how to worship during the sermon. And that it is, listening to a sermon is worship. I'm glad that the author recognizes that. So many people do not. [delete comment]
Bill Williams
February 12, 2013
@Robert, "the author himself states this in his very first statement that praying and teaching are 'not biblically pastoral in nature.'" Actually, the way the sentence was constructed, it appears that the author those two items are primarily what the author considers to be "biblically pastoral in nature." If I have misunderstood the author, I hope he clarifies. The authors don't normally interact on this forum, however. And I completely agree that the gift of teaching is not limited or exclusive to shepherds. The teaching ministry should be shared between pastors, elders, and others in the congregation who have been gifted. But what I mean is that Ephesians 4, the only text in the Bible that specifically references the office of pastor, links that office to teaching. Teaching and equipping the saints for ministry, not preparing and preaching a weekly sermon, is the primary responsibility of the pastor. [delete comment]
I once heard Lloyd Ogilvie say he considered one hour of preparation necessary for every sermon minute (pre-internet of course!) That would either cut down sermon length or increase study time or both. [delete comment]
Prescott Jay Erwin thank you for that helpful clarification of scripture. There is a time of prayer and study for pastors that needs to be guarded clearly stated in the example you mention. [delete comment]
I really appreciate this article. I have been on both sides of the pulpit and all of these points need careful consideration. All of us should care deeply for the preaching of God's Word and do our best to excel whether preaching or listening. [delete comment]
Prescott Jay Erwin
February 12, 2013
Bill Williams and Robert MacMillan: Perhaps this was a little confusing, but the author actually was referring to the two things from Acts 6 (prayer and ministry of the Word) that ARE primarily pastoral in nature. As the early church did by setting aside deacons, today's church should ensure that pastors are not distracted from those two key areas. That's not to say pastors are EXCLUSIVELY to pray, just that it's primary to the pastoral calling. Pastors who are distracted from prayer and the ministry of the Word by excessive church administration cannot be at their best for their flocks. [delete comment]
Fred Gurule
February 12, 2013
As a pastor must prepare to preach a person should be prepared to listen. Pray before you come to church and ask God to help you hear what He wants to say to you. [delete comment]
Robert Macmillan
February 12, 2013
Bill Although I am not in disagreement with your point of view I think the context of it was off a tad. The article was about 10 things that can be done by the congregation to improve their pastor's sermon. This indicates to me that it is about the pastor's preparation(ie. time spent), his or her lack of distraction during delivery, and the individuals ability to hear the message being delivered. When you say, "However, prayer is not biblically pastoral in nature" , the author himself states this in his very first statement that praying and teaching are 'not biblically pastoral in nature'. The gift of teaching is not limited or exclusive to shepherds. In 2 Timothy 1:11 Paul states that he was appointed a preacher, and apostle and teacher, each distinct yet complimentary. In Hebrews 5:12 Paul rebukes them for not being mature enough to teach others not for not being elders or pastors! [delete comment]
I really appreciate this article. I have been on both sides of the pulpit and all of these points need careful consideration. All of us should care deeply for the preaching of God's Word and do our best to excel whether preaching or listening. [delete comment]
I really appreciate this article. I have been on both sides of the pulpit and all of these points need careful consideration. All of us should care deeply for the preaching of God's Word and do our best to excel whether preaching or listening. [delete comment]
I really appreciate this article. I have been on both sides of the pulpit and all of these points need careful consideration. All of us should care deeply for the preaching of God's Word and do our best to excel whether preaching or listening. [delete comment]
Jeff Glenn
February 12, 2013
Good points! It's just too bad most of our parishoners will never read this article. But hey, what about posting it on facebook! [delete comment]
Robert Macmillan
February 12, 2013
Bill Although I am not in disagreement with your point of view I think the context of it was off a tad. The article was about 10 things that can be done by the congregation to improve their pastor's sermon. This indicates to me that it is about the pastor's preparation(ie. time spent), his or her lack of distraction during delivery, and the individuals ability to hear the message being delivered. When you say, "However, prayer is not biblically pastoral in nature" , the author himself states this in his very first statement that praying and teaching are 'not biblically pastoral in nature'. The gift of teaching is not limited or exclusive to shepherds. In 2 Timothy 1:11 Paul states that he was appointed a preacher, and apostle and teacher, each distinct yet complimentary. In Hebrews 5:12 Paul rebukes them for not being mature enough to teach others not for not being elders or pastors! [delete comment]
Bill Williams
February 12, 2013
As someone who sits in the pews each week, I thought this article was quite helpful overall, and I appreciated the sentiment. There were a couple of statements made, however, that I'd like to push back on. In the first point, I agree with the general idea: Don't expect the pastor to do everything, and certainly don't expect the pastor to do things we should be doing ourselves. However, prayer is not "biblically pastoral in nature." Prayer is the privilege of ALL Christians! Teaching, on the other hand, IS "biblically pastoral in nature" according to Ephesians 4. Yet in the context of Ephesians 4, the teaching that Paul has in mind does not appear to be the same thing as preparing a sermon or two every week. Rather, the context implies a type of teaching that is more practical, instructive, more of a training of the saints for ministry. For example, rather than just teaching people what the Bible says, a pastor teaches people how to understand what the Bible says for themselves. The second comment that the author made that I'd like to push back on is that a baby is less important than the word of God. First of all, I think it's silly to put babies and the Bible in competition with each other for interest. Yes, I agree there is a time and place to focus on each, if that is what the author was trying to say. But anyone who believes that a baby is less interesting than the Bible either has no children, or has sadly forgotten what it was like when they were babies! Looking back, the years that I spent with my two now-teenage sons when they were babies were one of the times when I most grew closer to God as I meditated on the sheer miracle of life he had created for me! Also, I'm a teacher, and I recognize that just because a student isn't looking at me, doesn't mean they're not paying attention. Not everyone has either the physical or the temperamental capacity to sit still and look in one direction for an extended period of time, nor should we expect them to. The key is to mix it up, get them to use their various senses, make it interactive. I think if more sermons were like that, pastors would have to worry less about distractions and would be able to keep more people engaged. [delete comment]
Amen and amen! [delete comment]
Great stuff. [delete comment]

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