I'm not real sure which was more nerve wracking, giving my first sermon in preaching class in seminary, or reading the critiques turned in by my classmates. Some of my classmates intuitively understood that they needed to balance positive encouragement with a small dose of constructive criticism. But the majority did not. Like an overzealous police officer with a whistle in his mouth, they eagerly listened and looked for the slightest slip-up.
After those seminary experiences, some of us longed for the day when no one would tell us how to preach. But in twenty-five years of ministry, I've found that inviting critique has made me a better communicator.
A friend once told me, "I've created a committee in my church that gives me feedback on my preaching." Then he added, "Evidently there are a lot of people who aren't aware that they're not on the committee."
When seeking feedback on sermons, preachers must be discriminating about who to ask. Very few people ...1