You stand up at the end of the service. As you turn around, grab anything you left on your seat, you give a friendly smile to the few people around you. Then it happens. On your way out the door, someone asks you, “so what did you think of the sermon?”. You panic! Should you be overly complimentary or slightly critical? In a millisecond you are trying to size up the questioner as a friend or foe, rouse up some generic middle-of-the-road comment that could be interpreted positively or negatively, and not appear rattled by the question. After you give a quick answer you shoot out to the parking lot, get in your car, and then it hits you…”if I’m unsure how to answer a simple question about the sermon, how can I get better sermons?”.
I know what you are thinking…”how do I get better sermons?…find a better preacher!” And honestly, in the age of the internet and post-covid where the list of potential resources and communicators is endless, I get it. You can simply pull up YouTube or Spotify and have any number of communicators teaching you at any moment. The options are innumerable and let’s be honest not all preachers are created equal. But is that the best option?
At the risk of sounding self-serving, I believe finding a better preacher may be detrimental not only to your pastor, and your current church but also to you. Behind any answer, you may give to the question “how to get better sermons”, we must all be willing to address the assumptions behind it – who is responsible to help the sermon be better? The answer is not a simple one, but I really appreciated Al Gooherham’s article engaging the question “How to Get Better Sermons“.
To be honest, I read the article twice, once as a sermon giver, and once as a sermon receiver. Here is the one thing I learned: I’ll never answer the question “how was the sermon” the same way again. Nor will I ask the same questions to others. Instead of asking “what did you think of the sermon?”, I’m aiming to replace it with “how will you apply the sermon this week?”.
What about you? What stood out to you from the article? Are you a pastor? What did you learn about sermon response? Are you a sermon listener? How can you apply the sermon you heard last week this week? Or better yet who will you ask how they will apply the sermon this Sunday after the service? As always, I love hearing from my readers and don’t forget to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.
Until Next Time…