On our Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/soulpreaching), which I encourage you to like so that you can get involved in some of these discussions, one of our readers, Prescott Jay Erwin, gave the following as a rubric for evaluating his own sermons.
I gauge my sermons based on: 1) whether or not I believe them to have been from the Lord (as opposed to simply myself); 2) whether or not they’ve affected me; 3) whether or not they’ve reverberated among the congregation; 4) whether or not they “have legs,” taken by the congregation to the community. But I try not to second-guess myself when there seems to be no immediate response — especially the first time I preach a sermon or on a particular topic/Scripture (sometimes it doesn’t have its effect the first time around). – Prescott Jay Erwin
I wanted to offer it to you as a very comprehensive and yet concise look at what a sermon should be. First and foremost, in point one, Pastor Erwin reminds us that the sermon is not totally from the preacher. It comes from God. Fidelity to the Bible and strugglign with the Spirit in prayer would fall under point 1.
In point 2, Erwin reminds us that a sermon must touch us first. If the sermon does not touch us, then how can we expect it to touch others. I remember one of my pastors used to often pray, “God, save us by the same Gospel that we preach to others.” Preachers must feel the power before preachers can pass it on to others.
In point 3, Erwin lets us know that sermons should affect the congregation in some way. It is not simply between God and the preacher, it includes the conregation. Erwin quickly adds that this may or may not be an immediate response. I would also add, that there are differnt ways that the congregation can respond as I wrote in the post, the congregation doesn’t always respond in the same way.
Finally, in point 4, Erwin reminds us that the sermon should have legs and take us beyond the four walls of the congregation as we live out the implications of being faithful members of God’s coming Kingdom.
Not only is it a concise summary, it actually shows the flow of power. It originates in God. It then touches us as preachers first. Then as we present it affects the congregation in tangible ways. Then finally, it encourages and empowers the congregation to be the church in the community throughout the rest of the week.
Now, Pastor Erwin wrote this in a few minutes as a Facebook status, so we cannot judge this by an exceeding rigor that might degenerate into nit picking. But I put it up for our conversation. What do we need to add to Erwin’s quote? I ask you, how do you evaluate your sermons?