Anytime after preaching a message or giving a talk can be a good time for feedback, but a great time for feedback is in the car on the way home. This is when I have really started listening. Not everyone has another preacher to analyze their sermons in real time like I do. I am more than lucky to have this outlet. Here is why it is important and how you can get this mechanism in your life, cool wife or not.
Usually I hear, “good preach.” Last week I heard, “great preach and great sermon.” The difference is, I took the seemingly harsh criticism the week before on what wasn’t clicking between the congregation and what I was saying. I made some edits for the next week and threw some material in the garbage and narrowed down to one point and only one story. If you know me this is REALLY difficult for me to do. I love a good rabbit trail.
By taking advice from people who you know have your best interest at heart and know what they are talking about you can start down the road of improvement. The result is worth it, because people will have an easier time applying and replaying the gospel to their own lives.
When we planted our church I had this mechanism. They might not have realized it but quite often I would ask Chelsea, Levi, Allyson and Kendra what was working and what was not working. They would give good feedback. Often it was hard to hear, but I knew that they were part of the audience and this group would only speak out of love. I still value their opinions! Other than Amberley, there is one more resource I use, my dad. This guy has been preaching for a long time and knows his stuff. If he says you did good, then you know you really did good!
- Do not take advice from just anyone. There are times when people will offer their opinions and the input might be good but their heart is not. Guard yourself from this stuff, it can be toxic and you will spend more time trying to rebuild your spirit due to how it was said. Instead, find your crew that is going to be speak truth in love.
- Don’t create an echo chamber. Often in ministry people find us that make us into the precious little snow flakes that pastors can become. It is nice to have your tires pumped from time to time, but make sure that this is not all you listen to. Find some loving people who will really push you.
I currently have a really tight feedback system, Amberley, my dad and a few friends. I keep it tight on purpose. The truth is, I want to improve, but I want to improve with people that are there long term with me and are walking through life with me. We can all do better, striving for improvement is a good thing. We can preach clearer, more consistently and help people apply the gospel in every day life. Find your crew and start asking the tough tough question: “how did I do today?” If you want to keep doing a mediocre job, then it is simple, never ask how you are doing. Just keep doing what you are doing
Some Great Resources that I have and do use today:
Preaching Rocket program. It’s like communication coaching via the inter web. I did it years ago and still use my notes from the course.
Communicating for a change – By Andy Stanley – any and every preacher should read this book.
Then just watch videos of Judah Smith… this will alone make you a pro star. I am pretty sure that people get saved during his intros each week.