Monday, April 27, 2009

How can you tell how a sermon went?

When you're new, young, and obviously a little nervous at preaching, everyone always says "good job" et cetera as if to pat you on the back and say keep trying. Therefore, coffee-hour feedback doesn't work for an actual evaluation of how the sermon went: it's all positive because folks feel it's their job to encourage me.
So we have these little papers called Sermon Evaluations which I forget about until the last minute, and pass out frantically during the hymnsing at the beginning of the service (have to remember to get a representative sampling of our population: a rancher, a snowbird, an overeducated retiree, a newer member, a parent of young kids...)
They hand them back after the service with answers to questions. But there is no question "did the Holy Spirit move through Talitha as she preached?" so to find that out I turn to a series of questions:
Was the message clear and well-focused? (yes - all high scores)
What was the main point of the sermon? (SIX DIFFERENT ANSWERS all within the bounds of what I did preach)

my conclusion: the Spirit told each person what they needed to hear.
Mom adds: yeah, when you ask them what they thought was the most important point of the sermon, and they give you a point that wasn't in your sermon, THEN you know the Spirit was talking.

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