– Encouraging good preaching –

18 Sep

“Bored and disinterested congregations reap boring and disinteresting sermons. Interested and excited congregations encourage interesting and engaging preaching.”

We are blessed at St George North that week in and week out we are faithfully served by our preachers. We rest secure in the knowledge that each week the Scriptures are faithfully opened and explained and that we will be called to faith and repentance in response to the Bible. However, we must never take this for granted. Instead we should work hard to encourage our preachers to do the best they can possibly do. There are many things we can all do to encourage our preachers, here are just a few:

1. Pray for the preachers. Each week we record who is preaching in the Weekly SNAC so that you can pray for them during the week. Pray that they would work hard at understanding the Bible and preach it faithfully, passionately and in a way that engages us.

2. Occasionally, tell the preachers that you are praying for them and that you look forward to learning from God’s word each week.

3. Be there! There is nothing more discouraging for a preacher than to look out at the people he has faithfully prepared for only to see them not there!

4. Concentrate hard and interact with the preacher. Of course any godly Christian will do this anyway because this is God’s word being preached. However, there is nothing more encouraging for a preacher than to see people sitting near the front, interested and listening. In the same way, there is nothing more discouraging than seeing the person pick up there Weekly SNAC and starting to read during the sermon!

5. Thank the preacher. Don’t flatter the preacher or just give vague platitudes about it being a good sermon. Try to be specific and tell them what you found helpful. There is no greater joy for a preacher than to have someone share how they have grown in their understanding or been challenged in some way.

6. Be constructively and supportively critical. For instance, humbly and respectively ask them where they got the point they did from in the Bible. If you did not understand a point, gently ask for further help. These sorts of conversations will help the preacher see that they may not have been as clear as they may of thought and so will help them to improve. However, always remember that it is much harder to preach a sermon than critique a sermon.

Of course there are many more ways to encourage our preachers. You may want to read Listen Up! A practical guide to listening to sermons by Christopher Ash (I borrowed many of these thoughts from that pamphlet). As congregations we reap what we sow. Bored and disinterested congregations reap boring and disinteresting sermons. Interested and excited congregations encourage interesting and engaging preaching.

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One Response to “– Encouraging good preaching –”

  1. Meg Pollett September 20, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    I’ve had a (unread) copy of ‘Listen Up’ on my shelf for the last year. You’ve motivated me to take it off the shelf and read it! Thanks for the encouragement to think more about this important topic.

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