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 Preaching VI: Feedback and Critique

Julian Spriggs M.A.

V: Presentation and Public Speaking

Here is some help if you are in the situation of training other people to preach. This is a list of some things to look for when listening to their message, so you can give them constructive feedback afterwards. It is also possible to use this list to critique your own preaching.

When training people in preaching, it is of the utmost importance to be encouraging. For many people, standing up and preaching for the first time is a terrifying experience. We need to make sure that it is not their last time.

A helpful method of giving feedback is to start with stating what was positive about their message. Even if it was a disaster, there is still something we can say to encourage them. After giving the positive feedback, it is time to suggest areas that could be improved. Give helpful suggestions, rather than severe criticism. Rather than saying, “That was awful”, we can be more constructive by giving detailed suggestions for improvement.

These questions can also be used if you are helping someone during the process of their preparation.

I have divided the feed-back into three general areas, with some helpful questions in each:

1. Use of scripture

Was the length of the passage appropriate? Not too long, or too short.

Was the passage a natural unit of Scripture?

Was the passage explained within the context of the book?

Did the interpretation of the passage consider its meaning to the original readers?

Were each of the main points of the message drawn from the text?

Was the application from the passage valid and true to its original meaning?

2. Structure of message

Was there a good introduction, which drew the listeners into the message?

What were the main points? Were they clear and distinct?

Were the illustrations relevant, appropriate, and helpful to explain the point being made?

Was the application relevant to the congregation?

Was there a step-by-step application? How to do it?

Was the conclusion relevant and memorable?

Was the aim clear? Could you as the listener determine the aim of the message?

Could you tell what response to the message was wanted?

3. Communication

Quality of speech. Was he speaking too slowly / too fast, or too loudly / too quietly?

Was there variety in the voice?

Did the speaker enunciate the words clearly?

Was there enough eye contact with congregation?

Were the gestures or mannerisms appropriate or inappropriate?

Was the message interesting or boring?

Did the speaker keep the attention of the congregation?

Passion. Was there “fire in the bones”?

Did the speaker have rapport with the listeners?

Was there any unnecessary theological jargon?

Timing. Was the message too long / too brief?

4. General

Did the message leave you encouraged?

Most importantly, was the overall focus on Jesus, the work of the cross, and the grace of God?

V: Presentation and Public Speaking