So maybe he’s not the most interesting preacher in the world. What should you do about it? Have you ever thought that you might be able to help your pastor preach better? Here are some suggestions to help your
- Wait to take your Sunday nap. If you can avoid it, don’t go to sleep. This kills a speaker’s motivation and energy level. Stay awake, and make sure that your pastor has someone awake to speak to.
- Pray for your pastor, even while he’s speaking. It’s okay to pray (silently) while your pastor preaches. In fact, it may be one of the most helpful things that you can do. Ask God to give him ability in communication, and pray for the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Show that you’re there. A speaker knows intuitively who’s listening and who’s not. It’s possible for a speaker to be talking in front of a crowd of people, but no one is really there. Maybe it’s one of those sixth-sense things. You just know. In order to help your pastor preach better, make sure that you’re mentally engaged in active listening. Listening to a sermon is an act of worship.
- Express affirmation from time to time. Different churchgoers do different things to show that they appreciate the sermon, a particular statement, or point. Some nod their heads, some say “amen,” and some people may actually stand up and run around the room. Whatever is acceptable and non-distracting within your church, do it from time to time. You don’t have to start hooting and hollering, but the pastor will be encouraged by a thoughtful nod or two.
- Pretend you didn’t hear the guy sneeze, the baby who is crying, and the guy who dropped his Bible. Distractions happen during the sermon. Let them be. The person who is speaking in front of a group of people knows when everyone is looking at the source of the commotion, and this can be more distracting than the distraction itself. Try to remain focused.
- Use your Bible and take notes. Many pastors spend hours preparing their sermons. They study, they investigate, they pray, and finally — they deliver. It means a lot to them when listeners are not merely listening, but also jotting down notes or carefully looking at their Bibles. This simple act of attention will encourage to any pastor.
- Laugh at the pastor’s jokes, not at other times. It is absolutely unnerving when someone in the congregation begins laughing when you didn’t tell a joke. What just happened? Is it your tie? Something you said? Keep the snickering to a minimum, and your pastor will be able to maintain his composure. However, if your pastor does try to crack a joke — even one that is painfully not funny — try to laugh at least a little.
- Volunteer to help. If your pastor’s time is consumed with other details of church life that prevent him from more time to study God’s Word and pray, see what you can do to help out. If you can take on some responsibilities each week that will give him more time to study and prepare, you will help his sermons dramatically improve.
- Be consistent. Attend church as regularly as possible. One source of a pastor’s motivation to continue to study and prepare for his sermons is for people to be attending his church. That includes you.
- Express your appreciation personally. Perhaps nothing is as encouraging to your pastor as the sincere and genuine remarks of a listener. After the service, go up to your pastor, thank him, and mention any points of his sermon that were particularly interesting or helpful. This is not an activity in flattery or artificial praise. This can be a genuine act of thanksgiving and servanthood on your part.
Maybe your pastor’s preaching won’t improve overnight, but that’s not really the point. Speaking, let alone preaching, is a difficult and demanding task. Rather than go to church looking for a polished orator or a Sunday Morning Live entertainment session, prayerfully worship God. Within your worship, respectfully and humbly listen to your pastor as he preaches the Word. “Don’t treat prophecies as if they amount to nothing” (1 Thessalonians 5:20).