It was a joy & privilege for me to help Adam Chipman prepare the sermon he delivered during my absence. I then listened to the “finished product” on the church’s website.
He did a great job, didn’t he? We can be so proud of this young man!
This brings up an important question: How should we evaluate a sermon?
The fact is: we all have our personal preferences, our likes & dislikes. Some like sermons that make them feel good; others like sermons that are convicting. Some like sermons with lots of stories and anecdotes; others find these things distracting. Some like sermons heavy in theology; others want their sermons on the lighter, more practical side.
And then there’s the whole matter of style: Conversational or oratorical? Highly-structured or free-flowing?
The list of personal preferences is endless. Preferences can even change for any one person, depending on the day or week.
There’s no way ANY preacher can satisfy all of his listener’s preferences. Not even Jesus did (as many walked away from Him, shaking their heads).
Bearing this in mind, I have 3 objectives when I preach:
#1 -- to correctly interpret (explain)
the passage of Scripture we are studying.
#2 -- to apply the passage appropriately &
meaningfully to the lives of my listeners.
#3 -- to proclaim the truth of the passage
in an interesting & compelling way.
From time-to-time, I get advice on how to preach, just as Adam got a lot of advice (from me). I try to listen carefully to the advice I receive because there’s usually something valuable in every criticism. However, the 3 objectives listed above are paramount and I encourage the congregation to evaluate my preaching, Adam’s preaching or anyone else’s preaching on that basis.
The Bible speaks of the importance of preaching in Romans 10:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:14