Sunday, July 30, 2006

Preaching Evaluation

As I was browsing the 'net the other day, I came across a Preacher Evaluation Form that got me thinking about the quality of sermons we preach. Some years ago, I read a book called Why Teenagers Reject Religion... and What to Do About It which reported on a survey by 'Zbaraschuk, who found that "quality of sermons" was one of the reasons young adults gave for leaving the church.' (Dudley, 1978, p. 23) Those of us who preach bear a great responsiblity if this is true! But how often do we really evaluate what we are doing? Sure, when we finish a sermon, people often come up to us and make comments. But given the importance of the sermon in the life of the church and its potential to positively or negatively influence our congregations, I believe we need to be much more rigorous in seeking feedback about the quality of our preaching. I know that this is something I have never really done -- relying primarily on informal feedback from my friends (those who think I've done well!) I plan to start doing it with my next sermon. If you preach and would like to do this, check out the Preacher Evaluation Form (or something similar). I suggest that, next time you do a sermon, give at least three people a copy of the questionnaire and invite them to fill it out. Choose people you trust and who you believe will be honest in their evaluation -- there is no point in doing it if the feedback you get is not honest! Collect the evaluations at the end of the sermon and prayerfully reflect on the results. May God bless each one of us who take on the weighty responsibility of preaching... Reference Dudley, RL 1978, Why Teenagers Reject Religion... And What to Do About It, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington DC.

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