Last week I wrote a tip for average preachers. The tip (pray for better listeners) follows my belief that sermon quality for average preachers depends on the quality of the listeners.
I kept that bog post short, even though my mind was full of other implications. This post is all about the implications.
The big implication is this: usual church preaching is a co-operative activity. Preaching is a team event, not solo performance – it’s the activity of a body, not a hero. Speaker and listeners work together.
The ways we live that out are many:
- We start with thankfulness for each other
Speaker & listeners are joining in the great task of hearing God speak, with dedication to faithful obedience. It’s immense that we do so together, no matter what the numbers, abilities, etc
- We encourage everyone’s part
It’s wonderful that people come to church (preacher or not). Let’s say that more often, and to each other as well
- We work on the preaching setting
How’s the room you meet in? Can people hear OK? Is it too cold, too warm? Are there Bibles available, especially for visitors? I’m sure there are weeks when a sermon ‘worked’ because someone decided to close the back door and block the traffic noise
- We work outside the preaching setting
A church that builds its members in love for 167 hours a week will make better use of the 168th hour of the week, the hour that includes a sermon
- We train listening ability
Everyone helps training happen, preachers and non-preachers. We can learn better how to listen well, to understand, to seek clarification, and to expect God’s word to change us. In addition, churches can run formal training on making the most of sermons
- We practice humility
This is for the preachers. It’s not that our finely-crafted words are the secret to church life. The ‘secret’ is God’s word calling forth faith in his children – if God uses us, that’s a wonderful privilege and kindness