An Question On Sermon Effectiveness


I am trying very diligently to post the remainder of “Removing the veil” but I find myself having to deal with other things as well.

As the title of this piece suggests, I am having to deal with the effectiveness (my term) of a sermon. In part, we are trying to determine how to evaluation a lay speaker/servant’s presentation/sermon/message to a church.

I know that some individuals in my conference want to create a rubric that will allow anyone to evaluate a lay speaker/servant. But I have a problem with that sort of approach, if for no other reason than works for one person may not necessarily work for another. And not every person gives a traditional sermon. I have, on occasion, inserted music into my message, following the example of one of my pastors. On other occasions, I have opted for more of a story format, playing the role of Nathaniel Bartholomew, again following the example of a local pastor. So a single rubric doesn’t seem to work.

On a number of occasions, I have used the following as an expression of how we can measure our own effectiveness. In the movie “A Man for All Seasons”, there is the following interchange between Thomas More and Richard Rich.

Sir Thomas More: Why not be a teacher? You’d be a fine teacher; perhaps a great one.

Richard Rich: If I was, who would know it?

Sir Thomas More: You; your pupils; your friends; God. Not a bad public, that.

Perhaps that is what we need to be thinking of when we begin discussions of effectiveness. Who will know how well we did.

So, I came up with the following statement, “Did the lay servant/speaker move your soul to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?” I am sure that it is similar to a John Wesley quote or something that is asked of pastors in their BOOM paperwork.

I did write the question with a certain degree of sarcasm, simply because of what I was given as potential evaluation form. But there is also a certain degree of sincerity in this statement. I think that any time I set foot in the pulpit or stand before an altar to give the Gospel message, that is the goal I have set for myself.; I just haven’t figured out a way to make it fit the current plans of denomination.

So, as we begin the preparation for Lent, perhaps we need to be asking this question. It does not matter if one is an ordained elder, a local pastor, a certified lay speaker, or a local lay speaker, how do you measure your effectiveness in the pulpit?

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