How Was The Sermon This Week? 6 Questions for Self-Evaluation
Every preacher wonders how well we did. It’s human nature. We all, I think, want to do a good job, even an excellent one. Every week, right after the message, an internal dialogue starts and I have the all too familiar conversation with myself. Usually I’m a little hard on myself. I play it off as just wanting to get better, so I self-critique pretty hard. This temptation to overly self-critique has led me to develop a more systematic means for evaluation of my preaching. So I’ve put together some questions that I can ask myself (and some trusted others) on Monday mornings. Here are the questions I’m asking myself right now, I may add or subtract as I go along:
1. How was my pace? I tend to talk pretty fast, sometimes faster than people can listen. I think this flows out of my passion. I get excited and start talking faster. This is not always a bad thing, at least not until I’m going so fast that people can’t track with what I’m saying. So I need to pay attention to my pacing and make sure that I vary it throughout the message.
2. How was my tone? I want my tone to match my content. So when I preach about sin it comes from a place of personal brokenness, not judgement. Or when I preach about commitment I want it come from a place of encouragement not from an ‘I’m already there’ kind of place (because really, who of us really is). In other words, I don’t ever want my tone to negate the content.
3. Did I connect with the congregation? I think of this in two ways. First, I want to connect personally with the congregation in such way that they will be drawn into the moment, and think, ‘He’s just like me.’ Second, I want to connect the content of the message for the day to day lives of the congregation.
4. Was the message of the Gospel present? This one is particularly important during topical series. We don’t do a lot of these anymore, just two or three a year, but when we do I want to be sure the Gospel is at the heart of the message. It’s amazing sometimes how easy it is to settle for good content and miss the great message of the Gospel.
5. Was the message helpful? I want to be sure to communicate biblical truth in a way that helps the congregation to take their next step with Jesus. I want the message to be helpful for day to day living and faith development.
6. Was the message more than informational? There are so many places today where we are just transferring information from one person to another. But, I think the message, the sermon, is more than that. I mean it is that, we want to inform the congregation, to teach the biblical message. But it’s more than that as well. The message is an experience of worship all on it’s own. I want to be sure that happens, somehow.
Those are my six questions for now. What questions might you add? What do you think about when evaluating your own messages? For those of you who aren’t preachers, first, kudos for reading this far, second, what would make a message or sermon great for you? What would you say to your preacher to help them get better at preaching?
Grace and Peace,