What To Do After You’ve ‘Killed It’ With a Sermon!
I won a grand total of one swimming race. In a big meet anyway. It was summer and I had been preparing for this meet for months. I had trained hard for a long time. My whole summer was focused on this one meet, and on this one race, and I was ready. The coach talked me through the race strategically. I knew how I was going to start, where I was going be steady, where I was going to try to increase my speed, and how I was going to finish. I visualized it all! Then at the actual race time, it went just as I had seen it in my mind. And then, it never happened again. In fact, in the afterglow of that one race my swimming career went down hill fast. I never repeated that singular victory. I lost focus and ultimately I lost interest. The same thing can happen with our preaching.
You know, you’ve nailed that one sermon, that one message. You hit it out of the park. Nailed it. Crushed it. That one message actually connected with the people in your congregation. Lives were impacted. People responded. That usually awkward time of handshaking in the foyer after the service became a sacred time where people shared how God had worked through your message that day! It was amazing!
Time to be careful. That great moment might be the last moment of victory. The fear that’s under the surface of the victory can raise up and bring defeat if we’re not careful. Or, worse than the fear, complacency can set in. You have a choice to make in this moment. You can ride the wave or get buried by it. It’s your choice. What you do in the afterglow of a ‘knocked it out of the park’ sermon is incredibly important. I think it’s more important than what you do after a failed sermon. Let me share a few things that might help keep you on the path of creating sermons that ‘kill it,’ (that’s young people speak for doing a great job.).
Here’s what you should do right after ‘killin’ it’ with a message:
1. Celebrate. First, give thanks to God! In no small way the Holy Spirit is ultimately responsible for a sermon that truly connects. But, second, your hard work, prayer, research, and practice probably played a big role as well. Celebrate it. Rejoice in it. Don’t try to deflect it. Don’t show false modesty. Own it and celebrate it!
2. Reflect. Give it 24 hours and then spend some time reflecting on the message. We preachers are used to dissecting the failed sermons. When a sermon fails we naturally ask ‘what went wrong?’ We should be even more intentional about this process when a sermon is great. We need to ask, ‘What went well?’ ‘What truly connected?’ ‘Where was the Gospel presented?’ ‘How was my presentation of the material?’ ‘Why did this particular sermon connect?’ ‘What can I learn from this experience that might help with the next sermon?’ and many more…
3. Repeat. Then take what you learn and repeat it. I know it might sound a little oversimplified. But trust me, it works. If you are intentional about evaluating and reflecting on all your sermons; repeat what works well and stop doing what doesn’t work well. This is the first step to really getting better and more consistent in preaching. Yes, you can sign up for all kinds of seminars, take more preaching classes, even join a preaching master-mind group but at some point your going to be presented with a version of ‘do what works well, not what doesn’t.’
There you have it. Celebrate, reflect, repeat. If you’ll start following these simple steps after ‘killin it’ with a sermon you will begin have more success and consistency with great sermons.
Do one of these this week:
* Pick out your best three sermons from the last six months and…Celebrate, Reflect, Repeat.
* Call two or three other preachers and walk these steps together.
I’d love to hear if this post has made a difference for you!
Grace and Peace, Rich