There was a simple question asked on a page that I follow on Facebook in the past few days. It’s a page that is mostly for preachers, but anyone in ministry or leadership of a local church is welcome. The question came from a youth minister who was getting ready to preach in the main service at his church for the next couple of weeks due to the main preacher being out of town. Let me just use his words.
“I am a youth pastor and I’m filling the pulpit the next 2 weeks while my SP is on vacation. I would like to take advantage of the opportunity to be formally evaluated on my delivery. If anyone has a form/survey they use to evaluate you speakers I would love to see it.”
I’m going to leave names out of this, but that is a very good question. It seems to me that this gentleman is genuinely trying to improve his preaching skills by having others evaluate him. Then he’ll take the information that they give him, and can make changes to his delivery, preparation, and anything else that he finds that he needs work on. This is the sign of a person truly wanting to better themselves for the kingdom of God and I applaud him.
There was some good advice given in the comments as well. Evaluation sheets were purposed, either content, delivery, or a combination of both. Someone suggested videoing the sermon so that the person asking the question could actually self-evaluate by watching himself later. All of these are great suggestions and can be beneficial to all of us who are trying to improve (which should be any of us in ministry).
“Let God be the one to evaluate!”
Then came the last comment. Actually I was expecting it, but hoping that it wouldn’t show up. Someone suggested, “Let God be the one to evaluate!” I’m sure this person was well-meaning. At least I hope they were. But they have missed the whole purpose of the question. Yes, God can and will evaluate, but we won’t necessarily get that feedback. It just seems to me like it ties into the statement that we hear all to often; Only God can judge me (I wrote about that here). In this sense, it seems that the person making this suggestion that only God can evaluate our sermon or teaching time, and no one else that is listening to us should have any bearing on if/how we try to improve.
Think about that? If we are preaching or teaching, God has given us a call to faithful preach His word. Yes, we need to handle that call with respect, and stay faithful. But one of the ways we need to stay faithful is by trying to improve how we put lessons together, and how we deliver them. How can we do that if we aren’t evaluating them ourselves and asking others what we did well and what we may need to improve on?
You can ask my wife, almost always, after our Sunday morning service is over, I ask her if my sermon made sense. And sometimes I even ask about particular parts of my sermon if I get a sense that maybe it didn’t come across the way I think it did. I don’t have the luxury of videoing my sermons each week, but I do record the audio. I don’t go back and listen to them as often as I should (just something about hearing a recording of my own voice), but I have them at my disposal to listen to, and critique myself.
How can we do that if we aren’t evaluating them ourselves and asking others what we did well and what we may need to improve on?
“Let God be the one to evaluate!” Again, there is value in that. What the person is getting at, I hope, is that God is the one that we need to stay faithful to. In that sense, I agree. But I also think that God allows others to speak into our lives, and into our teaching/preaching. Constructive criticism is something that we should all value. Don’t be afraid to let people give you some constructive criticism in your preaching. Think about it. We are charged with handling the Word of God and presenting it to others. If we don’t evaluate the way we do that, and let others speak into it as well, we can get way off course. Stay faithful, preach the Word, and continue to improve.
We are charged with handling the Word of God and presenting it to others.
Need help to improve your preaching or leadership skills? Go over to RookiePreacher.com and check out their resources!