Post Preaching Logistics

What to do after preaching?  I suppose it is largely influenced by your church tradition, but for the sake of prompting thought, here are a few perspectives to which you can add yours:

The Stand at Door Option. Some churches like the preacher to stand at the door and shake every right hand that passes by.  It guarantees pastoral opportunity to see everyone, but also guarantees a couple of other things too.  For one, it guarantees that people who don’t particularly want to interact with you will feel obliged to say something polite and potentially insincere.  For another, it means that people who really do want to talk to you will be rushed and probably won’t.  Personally I find this option has more negatives than positives.  I would rather stand on the door on weeks when I’m not preaching, and have someone else there when I do preach (but then I have the advantage of a plural leader home church – perhaps every week preachers should consider having a back up for some weeks on the door?).

The stay at front to pray with folks option. This obviously has advantages that the last option didn’t.  It does make getting to you a known quantity, but also slightly intimidating for any that don’t want to swim upstream through the aisle to get to you.  Also, if it is overplayed in terms of “prayer ministry” then when nobody comes to you, it may communicate that the message didn’t touch lives, which may or may not be true!

The mill about option. This has the advantage of not being either overwhelmed with right hands rushing away, or loneliness when people don’t swim upstream for a heart-to-heart in a public setting.  But those that do want to talk may find it hard to approach if you look intent on getting to someone else, or thoroughly engaged with someone else.  It takes sensitivity and approachability to pull this off to its maximum potential.

The run and hide option. Probably many preachers can relate to this frequent desire to interact with nobody after pouring out heart and soul in the sermon.  While this may be tempting for several reasons, it usually isn’t the best approach.  Vulnerable and drained as you may feel, prayerfully engage with folks and remember to bring praise, criticism and heavy loads to the Lord . . . they’ll probably feel like too much for you to carry!

Other options?  What do you typically do?  Advantages?  Disadvantages?

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6 thoughts on “Post Preaching Logistics

  1. I generally hang out as usual amongst the people. If people want to bring up the subject or sermon, they will. If people want to talk about something else, that’s fine too.

    What interests me as well, is how do we make preaching less about the preaching and more about what we preach. I often think the 25 minutes of sermon are actually not enough to get something across. Then I am tempted to start a discussion of some sort beforehand, and a dialogue online aftewrwards, but then again, does that help me to bring the message more forward, or does it come accross as “oh he wants attention for his sermon”.. Preaching isn’t everything…

  2. I know some pastors invite people to come to a specific location after the service where tea / coffee is served and they can mingle and meet the pastor / elders.

  3. I generally go for the mill around option, and I have usually found that the people who want to chat will make themselves known, even if you do look occupied. I also think that the mill around option has another advantage, which is that you are doing what everyone else is doing.

    For sure when you preach you are set apart from the rest of the congregation in some respects, but you are also part of the same body, and I try to do as much as I can to remove myself from any sort of pedestal, for the sake of my own pride as much as anything else.

    As it happens I have been forced to take the run and hide approach when I preach in a few weeks time as I have to dash off as soon as the service finishes in order to make it to another event. I am not looking forward to the experience, I will definitely miss the opportunity to chat through what I have said with friends.

  4. Regarding what to do with your self after the sermon, why not have your sunday school/small group bible study after the sermon, each group/class using your sermon scripture. This would perhaps encourage more authentic feedback/questions arising from your sermon. You could visit in any of these classes with plenty of time to respond and/or pick up on ongoing or upcoming problem areas, or simply get to know someone better. I see other advantages and few disadvantages. Plus doing this centers the entire time people spend at church on you sermon which we assume is what The Lord wishes your congregation to understand/assimilate in their lives

  5. really interesting post. great work.

    i have never put a lot of thought into what i do after i preach. now i guess i will have to. right now, i just mill about. maybe i’ll change to run and hide – (just kidding).

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