Jump directly to the Content

What is the best way for pastors to solicit constructive feedback about their preaching from congregants?

Doug Nason responds in our Ask the Experts discussion.

Most preachers are terrified of evaluation and famished for feedback.

The thought of being judged or evaluated can turn naturally effective communicators into quivering, self-conscious, and ineffective performers. All day long we speak to people—without preparation, without notes, and without fear. That's because we don't expect to be evaluated on our everyday conversations. What we look for in our ordinary communication is feedback from our listeners to let us know if the message got through. We welcome feedback—we dread evaluation.

Though feedback is sometimes described as positive or negative, the "feedback" I'm talking about is non-evaluative feedback. "How well did I do?" is an evaluative question. It asks the listener to make a judgment, assess value, and assign a grade. A non-evaluative feedback question would be something like, "What did you hear, and how did it affect you?" It simply asks the listener to report what happened.

Some of the best preachers I know are able ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

What I Can and Can't Discuss at Home
What I Can and Can't Discuss at Home
Candor and compassion may lead in different directions.
From the Magazine
Why Does Creation Groan?
Why Does Creation Groan?
Scripture and science suggest that animal suffering fits into a divine artistic story.
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.