Do you want quality feedback on your sermons to help you become a stronger preacher?
The challenge with getting feedback from others is that typically they are not trained in homiletics. Let me be clear, this is both a positive and a negative. But as far as pursuing feedback is concerned, you need to ask clear and answerable questions. Complicated feedback forms are the staple diet of homiletics profs, but simple questions are worth their weight in gold.
Here's a sample question: Given that every oral communication situation demands an inherent unity of the presenter, did the speaker effectively engage with the single proposition of the text once the text is distilled using good hermeneutical principles? Ok, just joking. This is a horrible question. Long, hard to decipher, and actually only requires a single word answer, yet at the same time touches on several elements of preaching. Let’s try again:
1. Did the preacher make you want to listen? Was he engaging? How? – This is often the missing question on feedback forms I have seen. It is possible to be biblically faithful, organizationally clear and personally relevant, yet to be completely unengaging.
2. Biblically sound? Did you have the feeling that the preacher handled the Bible passage properly? – Might seem strange to use the word “feel” in a question on biblical accuracy, but for most listeners, that’s all they have to go by!
3. Was the message easy to follow? Was the speaker clear? – This points the listener to issues of organizational clarity, as well as allowing for comments on vocal clarity, and whether they knew where you were in the text.
4. Did the passage and the message feel interesting to you? – It is a sin to bore people with the Bible, so you might as well find out if you did or not!
5. Did the preacher’s delivery help you connect or was it distracting? How? – You need to give people permission to tell you that you keep picking your ear, or moving like a robot, or shuffling your feet, etc. Furthermore you may think that your eye contact is great, but they may tell you that you’re always looking at your notes!
You may find that you need to add prompts for each question (i.e. for the last one you could add – eye contact, gestures, movement, distracting habits, etc.) But then you are heading toward one of those complicated forms that only preaching teachers can really fill in.
And, if you want the most challenging feedback of all--add this question:
6. Please write down the main idea of the message.
Related Preaching Articles
By Brian Croft on May 5, 2017
There are all kinds of different sermons a preacher can preach, but the most helpful for a pastor to feed his people with week after week is expository sermons.
By Joe Hoagland on Apr 22, 2017
What if I told you there is one main thing you can improve to make people want to come back time and time again.
By Lane Sebring on Feb 24, 2017
I want to show you why I believe the often neglected step of rehearsing the sermon is essential to great sermon delivery.
By Hal Seed on Feb 21, 2017
Each week, the most important time for all of us who preach or teach for a living is our preparation time.
By Brandon Kelley on Jan 23, 2017
Timothy Keller seems to have the pulse of our present culture in a way that I’ve not encountered before.