Mar 19, 2009

Preaching Feedback

Peter Mead notes that some of the feedback we receive for our preaching is encouraging, but not altogether helpful. He identifies the following four reasons why some feedback is misleadingly positive.

1. Hopefully this doesn’t apply in your church, but many people are actually positive about poor preaching because they haven’t heard any better.
2. Certainly most Christians are relatively polite and pleasant. Much post-sermon feedback is church culture speaking.
3. Christian listeners appreciate the character of their preachers, even if they are grossly lacking in competence. That is to say, your preaching may be poor, but you care for their family, buried their grandfather, etc.
4. Most Christians are listening to sermons to have their own spiritual distinctives reinforced. This writer calls this the reinforcement bells. If a preacher rings the right bells, which they typically will since people choose the church that suits them, then they will feel “pats on the souls back.”

To this I would add that some people are simply by nature, glass half full types. I love these people, but I have found that I need to seek the input of others if I want a more honest assessment.

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