The more important our work is, the more imperative it is we strive to improve. If you are a preacher or teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you are proclaiming the most significant message in the world. Thus, those of us who do this work must be open to evaluation. Here are some ways to do so:
- Read good books on teaching/preaching, and compare your approach. No two people preach/teach alike, but we can learn from experienced proclaimers. Even a nugget of truth can affect our preaching/teaching in a positive way. Two books I recommend are Bryan Chappell’s Christ-Centered Preaching and Haddon Robinson’s Biblical Preaching.
- Enlist a preaching/teaching team to help prepare and critique your sermons or lessons. Others can help you exegete a text, consider appropriate illustrations, and determine applications for your particular audience. That same team can then evaluate each sermon or lesson when it’s delivered.
- Pay attention to your hearers. Are they attentive? listening? sleeping? texting? Your hearers may have a multitude of reasons not to listen well, but boredom might be one – and that issue most often lies at the feet of the speaker.
- Do immediate self-reflection. As soon as you finish preaching or teaching, make a few notes. What worked? What didn’t seem to work? What would you change?
- Record and watch. I don’t know many people who like to watch themselves preach or teach, but this approach is invaluable. After 30+ years of preaching, I still catch myself giving too little eye contact, fiddling with coins in my pocket, etc.
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