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Preaching Articles

I’ve actually assembled more than ten things church members have told pastors immediately after they preached. But these are ten responses where pastors have had the most visceral reactions.

  1. “I am going to be late for lunch because you preached so long.”
  2. “You must not have had much time to prepare that sermon.”
  3. “My former pastor preached a much better sermon from that text.”
  4. “I wish {fill in the blank} would have heard that sermon.”
  5. “You act like you weren’t feeling well while you preached.”
  6. “I’m sorry I fell asleep while you were preaching. Your voice just puts me to sleep.”
  7. “Your subject/verb agreement was incorrect three times in your sermon.”
  8. “I wish you wouldn’t preach from the Old Testament.”
  9. “Let me tell you what you missed in your sermon.”
  10. “Are we ever going to be done with this sermon series?”

Pastors often take 10 to 20 hours to prepare a sermon. They pray for God to speak through them. They preach with conviction and fervency. And then they hear one of these sentences.

These ten responses are close approximations of what pastors have actually told me. I am sure there are many more. Let us hear what they are.



























Thom Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources and the co-author of Transformational Church: Creating a New Scorecard for Congregations.
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Talk about it...

Troy George

commented on Apr 23, 2015

Those are all ones that I have heard before. The preaching too long is the one that probably bothers me the most. They can watch a T.V. show for an hour totally engaged and can't wait for the next episode, but can't listen for 30 to 40 minutes to eternal truth?

Ed Boon

commented on Apr 23, 2015

While on furlough from Mali, West Africa I spoke in a church service one evening about Mali. After the service a guy came up to me and said: Tell me, have you ever had malaria? I responded, yes I have. I thought so, he said, you look like it. And he walked off.

Thomas Beckstrom

commented on Apr 23, 2015

While I would like to think she didn't mean it the way it came out, one dear woman said, "Pastor each sermon is better than the next one!" That was almost 35 years ago. I must have been a great preacher back then! :-)

Roger Hutto

commented on Apr 23, 2015

Unfortunately, I've earned comments like those. It makes me work harder and never grow satisfied with my preparation or delivery. I actually prefer any comment to the silent nod and hand shake. Comments reveal as much about the one making it as it does about the one receiving it; I want to know how the hearer is engaging with the Word as presented.

Lawrence Webb

commented on Apr 23, 2015

At the end of the first session of a study on Revelation, based on a book I had written, Wayne stood up and said to the class: "He's a better writer than he is a speaker. Read his book, and you'll understand better." I said, "I love you, too, Wayne!" By the way, he attended the rest of the classes and seemed to think I did better.

Rene Garcia

commented on Apr 23, 2015

I don't minister at the main church, that is usually done by the lead pastor and many times people appear to have a feel good time while some truly display one or more of the 10 reasons listed. My ministry is considered a mission extension of our church. I DO NOT subscribe to that thought process. The burning in my heart is that the saints at the senior center, assisted-living facility have already lost so much in life, spouses, children, homes, cars, and many of their long time friends, many their main church. It is my purpose to fulfill in them, that they may have experienced all these type of losses, but that they have not lost THEIR church or God. Many are in various stages of health issues and my congregation changes every 2-3 years due to high incidences of death. They call me pastor, as I preach, teach Bible Study, and give my all in leading them to Jesus, but the blessings come inn the knowledge that I gave them everything God gave me to give them that we may enter into worship of King Jesus. Many fall asleep, on and of at times, drop their bulletins, Alzheimer's, dementia , oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. They dress to the nines for an audience with the King. I wear 2 or 3 piece suits at all times so as not to be a stumbling block at this point in their lives. I prepare just as extensively as I did when I preached at main church before the merge and a much younger denomination came in, at 50 I was one of the younger ones in the church. The ministry at the senior center deserve my best under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Many church leaders today preach in t-shirts, shorts and many times without shoes on the platform. This would shock my congregation. I have an agreement with the lead pastor when he preaches at my church, he doesn't need to wear a suit but I expect him to dress up and when I speak at main church I will dress down a bit. So sometimes I may see some or all of the 10 reasons expressed or displayed, but I don't personalize it. When I lay my head down at night I do with the satisfaction that I have given my best and my all. We need to listen to our seniors, they have so much to teach. I have ministered for 32 years, serve on boards, sang solo's and in choirs, serve as District Elder for our church regions. I was licensed and ordained as God led me down my own journey. Please pray for me that I do all God sends me to. May you have an opportunity to experience a ministry like this. Thank you Father God for using me. Again, pastors don't take it personal as long as you have given God your all. If people think church is long now, what are they going to think about eternity? You do your all, your best and leave the rest to God. Peace, Pastor Rene Garcia,

Pastor Bryan

commented on Apr 23, 2015

Here are a few I've heard: "You should try to sound more like Jay Vernon Mcgee." "I watched David Jeremiah this morning. Now he's exciting!" "Not sure I got my money's worth on that one." And on the positive side, "That was a truly fantastic message!" I never know what to say to that one. "Thanks?" It feels odd receiving kudos for what God probably just did in them, with me doing little more than conveying His Word (even if I did so with 3 points and an illustration).

Jb Bryant

commented on Apr 23, 2015

Is there anyone else who doesn't want to hear "Good job!"? I am not a performer. I'm here to deliver a message from God that is intended to be life changing, draw you closer to Him, help you become more like His Son. "Good job" tells me I didn't accomplish that - you focused on me, not on Him.

Joe Taylor

commented on Apr 23, 2015

"Wow, pastor, each one of your sermons is better than the next one!

Scott Hoag

commented on Apr 24, 2015

"You need to step on our toes more!" "You misspelled a word in your PowerPoint." "You should of had an altar call at the end of your message."

Robert Proctor

commented on Apr 24, 2015

Pastor I really enjoyed your sermon. Pastor thinking - "Really? I spent countless hours in study and pray - to entertain you?"

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