No teasing – here’s the tip for average preachers: pray for better listeners.
This post is not about extraordinary and brilliant preachers. These people have wonderful content that’s true and challenging. Their communication is excellent, being clear, engaging and memorable. Even those who disagree enjoy the listening.
This post is not about poor preachers, who fail in both content and communication. Everyone who hears them goes away confused.
I am writing about the majority of preachers. They have something to say, but are not Einsteins of the text. These preachers communicate adequately, but they won’t take Olympic gold medals for oration.
I’m convinced that, especially for average preachers, the quality of the sermon depends on the quality of the listeners. Faithful and devoted listeners make for good sermons. Grumbling and faithless listeners make for poor sermons.
the quality of the sermon depends on the quality of the listeners
Why? Because the listener to average preaching will find what they’re looking for.
A grumbler has real reason to say, ‘He’s not that insightful. The jokes are half funny. And those tongue stumbles when he gets excited – I just can’t listen.’ It’s poetic justice that a selfish listener gets no benefit for self.
A good listener is the opposite. This person finds the gold amid the dross, and overlooks odd verbal habits of the preacher. This generous listener is kind to the preacher, and the result is spiritual blessing to the one who hears.
So, as an acknowledgement of our own ‘averageness’, pray for better listeners.