When Listeners Aren’t Satisfied – 4

Taking some prompts from Boyd-MacMillan and blending them with my own thoughts, here are a few comments to prompt our thoughts on what to do when listeners aren’t satisfied:

9. Know your own inner landscape. We all have emotional baggage buried inside.  Criticism has a unique ability to slip through, stir up a deep wound and create inner turmoil.  It’s good to know what is going on inside, otherwise we end up taking a beating from external and internal foes.

10. Whatever the justification for the criticism, make sure it improves your preaching! While it may come in a package of intemperate rudeness, there may be a kernel of truth somewhere in there that will help you.  Don’t shrug off all criticism, for a sensitive spirit is critical to effective preaching.  However, be sure to have strategies in place so that rocket-propelled criticism grenades fired by immature or overly upset or “you touched a raw nerve” listeners do not take you out of the spiritual battle of ministry.

That’s not a complete list, but perhaps something is helpful there.  What would you add?

One thought on “When Listeners Aren’t Satisfied – 4

  1. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but in a classroom I use the idea of using certain students like a barometer. By that I know who to check to see if I’ve explained things well enough and been successful or if actually I have made a right mess of things. I know those who generally always get it and if they are stuck I have done a really bad job. I know those who will always struggle and I know if they have got it I have done really well.

    In the same way I think preachers need to know their audience. Who are the ones who will say it’s great regardless, who hate it regardless, who are the ones who often fall asleep, so if they’ve paid attention throughout I’ve done really well, etc. In that way I can gauge “the pressure” in my classroom or in my sermon and have a sense of how valid any dissatisfaction is and what my response needs to be. Sometimes my response needs to be “I could have done that better” or “I probably won’t use that story/ style/ approach/ gesture/ etc. Again”.

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