Favorable, Yet Flawed Feedback

I’ve mentioned before that it is not wise to evaluate your preaching by the polite pleasantries passed at the shaking of hands after preaching.  Now I’m reading an engaging and enjoyable book that I will review in due course, but it suggests several reasons for positive feedback in the post-sermon pleasantries that are worth taking into account:

1. Hopefully this doesn’t apply in your church, but many people are actually positive about poor preaching because they haven’t heard any better.

2. Certainly most Christians are relatively polite and pleasant.  Much post-sermon feedback is church culture speaking.

3. Christian listeners appreciate the character of their preachers, even if they are grossly lacking in competence.  That is to say, your preaching may be poor, but you care for their family, buried their grandfather, etc.

4. Most Christians are listening to sermons to have their own spiritual distinctives reinforced.  This writer calls this the reinforcement bells.  If a preacher rings the right bells, which they typically will since people choose the church that suits them, then they will feel “pats on the souls back.”

This is a helpful list.  I am looking forward to telling you more about the book, but I want to get further into it first.  (If you feel bad that I have not cited my source in this post, just ask and I will let you know – once I am back from my vacation/holiday! . . . or wait and the review will soon arrive!)

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