How do you know if you are preaching effectively? We need a little more than the pleasantries of worshippers as they shake hands with us after worship. Anyone can say, “Nice sermon.” Here are 8 signs your sermons are making an impact.
Your listeners remember the message
One way to know if your sermons are effective is if they stick with your listeners. Do you think your listeners could repeat the point (or points) of your sermons at lunch after worship?
Application: Work on a “sticky statement” to repeat in your sermon that summarizes your message.
Your listeners go home and read the Bible
You would be hard-pressed to find a better way to tell if your sermons are making an impact than if your listeners are motivated to read more of the Bible. We all want our listeners to grow in their understanding of God’s word. If a sermon compels them to take a deeper look at scripture, well done!
Application: Provide room for exposition in your sermon to break down and explain your scripture text.
Your listeners set up an appointment with you
Quite often a good litmus test for sermon effectiveness is the number of phone calls you receive from listeners who want to come in and talk to you. Good preaching should provoke people to grow.
Application: Be sure your sermons are addressing relevant topics and struggles of your listeners.
Your listeners act on the message
This one may seem obvious but it is a good reminder that good preachers always ask, “What do I want my listeners to DO with my sermon?” Every sermon needs a handle on it. Otherwise, it will be left in the sanctuary.
Application: As you prepare sermons always ask, “How can listeners apply this message to their lives?”
Your listeners make a profession of faith in Christ
You can’t make a list like this without including one of our primary goals as preachers: to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ. One of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing that your sermon, by the power of the Holy Spirit, moved someone to surrender their lives to Christ. Fellow preachers, that’s what it’s all about.
Application: Don’t forget to preach sermons that call people to a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Your listeners want to join the church
Let’s be honest. Christians don’t grow unless they are rooted in a local church. If a sermon motivates them to make a commitment to your church, then praise God!
Application: Preach a handful sermons each year that address the importance of being active in the church and rooted in the body of Christ. Oh, don’t forget to mention tithing!
Your listeners talk about the sermon with other people
A tried and true way to increase worship attendance is to preach sermons that motivate your listeners to talk. Word of mouth is still the best way to grow a church.
Application: Share your best sermons on social media.
Your listeners send you angry letters and emails
If you are faithful to the preaching task, you will preach messages that are not popular with listeners. If your listeners are always agreeing with you, check to see if you are challenging them enough.
Application: Don’t forget to be prophetic in your preaching by addressing moral and social concerns.
Charley Reeb is the Senior Pastor of Pasadena Community Church (UMC) in St. Pete, Florida. He has a passion for preaching and loves helping other preachers hone their craft. He is the author of That’ll Preach! 5 Simple Steps to Your Best Sermon Ever.