Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Feedback to preachers

I was a bit disappointed on Sunday evening that I had not really done justice to the material on which I had to preach. It was one of those occasions where an outside series we are following had quite a lot of points to make which were not from the main passage of the day. I was forcing it a bit to make connections and I felt it showed.

I was therefore delighted to get this e-mail next day:

Hi Steve

Just wanted to say that that was an excellent sermon last night.

I'd say the most effective moment was the really lovely smile you gave as you started, drawing in the whole congregation. The best line was ' And Canon MacLean was following him.' Beautiful timing, beautiful deadpan delivery.

The best point, for me, was the equation of witness with 'telling your own story'. As someone who took a long time to work out that 'giving God a good press' only works if it's heartfelt, I really appreciated that. I'm not aware that telling my story has brought anyone in particular to Christ, but it's certainly brought some wandering sheep back into the fold: a different sort of outreach, but the one I seem to have ended up with.

Good structure, too - the summing up at the end matched the outline given at the beginning, and the bit in between actually revolved round the same points!

So thanks. I did appreciate it.

Now I don't tell you this just to massage my already over-polished ego but to make two points:

1. It is amazing how often times when I get great feedback matches the occasions when I feel I have let people down a bit. It meant a lot that someone had taken the time to think about what I had said and how it worked and then actaully send the e-mail.

2. Do give your preachers feedback. The e-mail didn't just say 'Nice sermon vicar' but told me some specific things I had done well. I can build on those and try and make the most of those techniques again.

So thanks my friend. I appreciate it. And if you have negative things to say I will take them much more easily if I know you will also tell me positive things.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I had a very similar experience leading worship one evening in January. I had had a really rubbish day and although did put the effort in at one point during the songs I really felt like I was just playing through them and couldn't wait to finish thinking no-one had come on the journey with me. Afterwards I had a great e-mail pointing out several things, including the obvious preparation and sensitivity in my leading and how appropriate it was for the service.

I really do like heplful feedback - it really helps me to learn what I'm doing well and areas I need to improve.