Sunday, October 24, 2010

Post Sermon Review

Post Sermon Review:  by Peter Mead

The old adage says practice makes perfect. I have to agree with Haddon Robinson and Howard Hendricks in disputing that. Practice makes ingrained. Perhaps perfect practice makes perfect, or maybe evaluated and critiqued practice makes perfect. But if you do something over and over, without constructive improvement, it won’t suddenly become good, it will simply become ingrained and hard to fix. So after we preach, we need to review.

What should self-review include? I think there is a place for feedback from others and I have written about that on this site. But in this post I want to dwell on self-review. There are different ways to do this, but I want to encourage at least a minimalist approach. Sure, if you can get yourself videoed, then it is a real eye-opener to watch yourself preach. Perhaps once every now and then this is well worth the pain! Listening to the audio of a message is worth it periodically, but I wouldn’t suggest suffering through such discomfort every week!

What I do suggest, though, is to prayerfully evaluate after every message. In the aftermath preachers tend to feel discouraged and overly critical. However, prayerful gratitude and handing over to God is so worthwhile(especially handing over any excessively painful critique, or especially laudatory affirmation, is very healthy!) In this prayerful review, the preacher will typically be able to recognise some of the weaknesses in the preaching – perhaps an unclear section, a loss of momentum, an overly used term, etc. This kind of review will not reveal everything, we need feedback from others to recognize our blindspots. However, it will prove helpful and can feed into future preaching if we note our observations and prayerfully review them before future preaching.

Tomorrow I will share the categories that I use for reviewing a sermon

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