The (Sometimes) Scary Thing You Must Do to Improve Your Preaching

What if there was something you could do right now that would help you improve your preaching? What if I told you that it would really help, but it may be a little painful? Would you still do it?

The (Sometimes) Scary Thing You Must Do To Improve Your PreachingYou probably want to know what it is that I am proposing before you commit, right?

Watch yourself preach.

At the very least, listen to yourself preach. I know, I know. You sound weird. I say the same thing about myself every time I go back and watch myself after I have delivered a sermon. But you need to get over it.

Athletes go back and watch tape of their games so they can identify the areas they need to improve. Musicians go back and listen to their recording to fine tune it. Why shouldn’t you go back and watch (or listen to) yourself preach? If you’re attempting to answer that question, don’t.

As communicators of the greatest message ever, we must be students of the craft of communication. The countless “ums,” the odd mannerisms, and the swaying back and forth can be distracting and the last thing we want to happen is for ourselves to get in the way of someone hearing from God.

Now, let me be clear. The Spirit of God will move because the Word of God is being proclaimed. That’s the power of God. And we should understand that He is the one who softens hearts. But that doesn’t negate our responsibility in the wonderful thing we call preaching.

When you go back and watch yourself preach, be gracious towards yourself. You will always deal with the weirdness of watching yourself on video (or listening to yourself on audio), but it will get better in time. As you evaluate each message you preach, be sure to either take mental notes or actual notes on things that stick out to you.

Think about how the main point of the message is conveyed. Think about whether or not your illustrations were vivid. Did you have energy or were you dull?

These are all things I strive to evaluate myself when I go back after preaching a sermon. If you want to improve your delivery, you have to be intentional. You need to be able to give yourself honest feedback. You take what you need to change and you run with it the next time you have the opportunity to share God’s Word.

To take this all a step further: ask others for honest feedback.

If you are in a multi-staff environment, ask one of them. If you’re not, find someone in your congregation who speaks in front of people to give you feedback. If that doesn’t work, ask another pastor to give you feedback. But here’s the thing: you have to give the other person, no matter who it is, the permission to be honest with you.

Don’t push this off any longer. Start watching yourself preach and give yourself feedback. Then invite others into the conversation.

After you have done so, share what you learned in the comment section below.

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Spiritual Development Pastor at a fast growing church in Batavia, Ohio, called The Crossing. Among the many things he does at The Crossing, serving on the teaching team is one of them. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.