This is a question that was raised by a young friend. I think it’s a great question. I want to answer it in two parts. Today I’m going to set the stage for some suggestions I want to offer on Wednesday. So be sure to come back then!
Picture us sitting across from each other in a coffee shop. We talk about how your ministry is going, and then you say, “The reason I wanted to talk to you today is because I’m wondering if my preaching is good enough.”
“Tell me what makes you wonder about your preaching,” I respond. You tell me you study hard, you work on connecting to your people, but when you’ve finished preaching, you wonder if it’s been adequate. Did it help anyone or was it merely helping pave the way for some afternoon naps?
First, younger preachers probably struggle with this more than more experienced preachers do. At the same time don’t think guys who have preached or taught for decades don’t have moments (or even seasons) of self-doubt. So you’re asking a question that we have all asked about ourselves.
Second, I’d have a question. I’d want to ask “Good enough compared to what?” What do you think is “good enough” and where do you think you fall short? I’d be very interested in how you answer those questions.
Your answers may range from what you perceive as a lack of response to an inner sense that you’re just not communicating. Whatever your reason(s), the issue is bugging you, because you want God to use you in the lives of your people.
I would tell you I am glad that this is something you’re concerned about. We should be concerned about our effectiveness because we’ve been entrusted with such an enormous responsibility.
I’d ask if I could listen to some of your sermons. I’d want to listen to one or two that you felt good about and one or two that you felt missed the mark. I’d also like to read your manuscripts or sermon notes.
We’ve talked awhile, and it’s time for you to go to back to the office, so we’re going to meet again. When we do, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned about preaching – things that may help you be a better preacher, but also some things that may help you see yourself and your preaching ministry more accurately. I would be careful to tell you I am not an expert on preaching. I was an ordinary preacher, and I had good Sundays and Sundays that were not as good. I can relate to what you’re thinking.
So I’ll see you then, ok? And I’m buying. It’s a privilege to talk to you, and I’ll be praying for you!