I know some pastors who love this idea. I know others that seem to flee from it. Consider it. Consider approaching a group of people in the church and ask them to be part of your Preaching Resource Team.
1. Tell them what sermons or series are coming up. They can be on the look out for illustrations, information, stories, statistics, etc. They feed this to you and you filter it for helpful material. In reality, a lot will never get into a sermon, but that is also true with your own hunt for illustrations. Having others feed this stuff to you will help you as there will be a nugget here and there.
2. Tell them when you are going to use their stuff. “Hey Steve, thanks for that moon-landing story, I’m going to use that this Sunday!” Steve will be there. Steve’s family and friends will probably be there too as he herds them in with his head held high.
3. Tell the people where you got the story. “Steve passed me a story that really makes this idea clear for us. When Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the moon . . .” Now Steve is really beaming (maybe on the outside, probably on the inside), and will double his efforts to help you. Others will also want to help you too, once they see that you are open to input.
4. Tell the team you appreciate them. Perhaps once a year you could throw an appreciation meal for your Preaching Research Team. Make them feel special, appreciated and involved. What do you have to lose?
There are numerous ways to involve members of the congregation in sermon preparation or feedback. I’ll mention others in time, but liked the sound of this idea when I heard it mentioned recently by Dave Stone.