Preaching Articles

The more important our work is, the more imperative it is we strive to improve. If you are a preacher or teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are proclaiming the most significant message in the world. Thus, those of us who do this work must be open to evaluation. Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Read good books on teaching/preaching, and compare your approach. No two people preach/teach alike, but we can learn from experienced proclaimers. Even a nugget of truth can affect our preaching/teaching in a positive way. Two books I recommend are Bryan Chappell’s Christ-Centered Preaching and Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching.
  2. Enlist a preaching/teaching team to help prepare and critique your sermons or lessons. Others can help you exegete a text, consider appropriate illustrations, and determine applications for your particular audience. That same team can then evaluate each sermon or lesson when it’s delivered.
  3. Pay attention to your hearers. Are they attentive? listening? sleeping? texting? Your hearers may have a multitude of reasons not to listen well, but boredom might be one – and that issue most often lies at the feet of the speaker.
  4. Do immediate self-reflection. As soon as you finish preaching or teaching, make a few notes. What worked? What didn’t seem to work? What would you change?
  5. Record and watch. I don’t know many people who like to watch themselves preach or teach, but this approach is invaluable. After 30+ years of preaching, I still catch myself giving too little eye contact, fiddling with coins in my pocket, etc.
  6. Ask for evaluations. Even if you don’t use a team to help develop your sermon or lesson, enlist others to evaluate your work every week. Unlike the prep team in #2 above, these folks would be exposed to the teaching only when it’s delivered – that is, like almost all of the people in your audience.
  7. Give “pop quizzes” throughout the next week. As you spend time with your listeners the week following your sermon or lesson, ask them what they remember of your material. Find out what life changes, if any, they’ve made as a result of your teaching.
  8. Ask for feedback the following Sunday. For the entire congregation, include a quiz from last week’s sermon or lesson in this week’s material (perhaps in the worship guide if evaluating a sermon). Ask your hearers to recall major points and application. If few remember, you might want to think about ways to reinforce your teaching.
  9. Watch good preachers/teachers and learn from them. I’m hesitant to include this option, as I don’t want anyone to simply use somebody else’s material or delivery. We can learn, though, from others who seem to do these tasks better. Listen. Watch. Learn.
  10. Ask your spouse and children to be honest with you. It’s likely your spouse will recognize nervousness, confusion, disorganization, etc. Your children—especially if they are teens—can help you know if you connected with their generation.
  11. Intentionally and regularly work on improving one area of your teaching/preaching. Even the best proclaimers have room for improvement. Determine the weakest area of your teaching/preaching, and spend time strengthening that component. Focus on one component every six months – and never reach the point where you have arrived.

What other methods would you recommend?

Dr. Chuck Lawless is Dean and Vice-President of Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, where he also serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions. In addition, he is Global Theological Education Consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Lawless is also president of the Lawless Group, a church consulting firm. He and his wife, Pam, have been married for more than 20 years, and they live in Wake Forest, NC. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on

Browse All

Related Preaching Articles

Talk about it...

Vicky Postelmans

commented on Aug 19, 2015

Dear Mr. Lawless, The apostle Paul probably wouldn't meet any of these criteria. You forgot the main one which is: Are you called, annointed, and prayed up. The annointing breaks the yoke and where the SPIRIT is, there is liberty.

J Vl

commented on Aug 19, 2015

I agree with you Vicky. I have heard very good speakers delivering the Message and that's all. Then I have heard non-professional anointed, called pastors speak simply and gently and be more effectual. Paul was not a great orator but he was Called.

Gregory Norton

commented on Aug 19, 2015

Dear Mr. Lawless and Sis. Vicky, I agree with your point that we need to be called, anointed, and prayed up. We need to add a 4th: Prepared. The Holy Spirit and the anointing is not an excuse to be lazy, not prepare, not exegete our scripture, and know the point/use/application of that scriptural passage. Finally, the preacher needs to be 'interested' in Jesus by having a relationship with him. Being excited is not enough, the crowds in Jesus' day were excited, but it came time to follow, when it was hard, > they really were not interested in Jesus. The preacher needs to be interested in Jesus so that the hearers of our sermon have an example. God Bless!

Kevin Mcdonald

commented on Aug 19, 2015

Good suggestions for those of us who aren't Paul. Video is sometimes brutal, but very effective. Video plus reflection could be quite effective, and any pastor/preacher who doesn't read is going backward. Thank you for a good article.

William Howard

commented on Aug 19, 2015

God bless you all. I thank you for the post and comments. However, I submit to us that the first thing that the preacher needs to evaluate is, did I say what God told me to say? Did I preach the Word or opinion, philosophy, political correctness? Did I keep the main thing, the main thing. Preachers of the Gospel are asked to do just that. Preach the Gospel.

Taiwo Opajobi

commented on Aug 19, 2015

This is great. Thanks and God bless.

William Howard

commented on Aug 19, 2015

Psalms 133:1 Ephesians 4:3 1 Peter 3:8 2Peter 1:10

Adebayo Samson

commented on Aug 20, 2015

Great article

Delwyn Campbell

commented on May 26, 2019

I'm more curious as to why most of these articles have Baptist authors? Is Sermon Central a Baptist forum? Given the Role of Dr. Martin Luther in restoring the Office of the Public Ministry and focusing attention on the importance of preaching, how is it that I see no Lutheran pastoral voices here?

Alfred Leuta

commented on May 27, 2019

Great article, inspiring to ask others to give feedback on your sermon delivery.

Join the discussion