Listeners have role in sermon preparation

DALLAS Preachers are not the only ones who need to prepare for an upcoming sermon. Church members have an important role as well. 

“I wish they knew how critical it is that they show up for the sermon prepared to hear what their preacher has to say,” shared Jeffrey Campbell, assistant professor of preaching at Criswell College, during a podcast interview with the school’s president, Barry Creamer.

“If you’ve prayed about receiving that word, prayed for your pastor through the week while he’s prepared, and he gets up there and reads the text, shares what’s gone on in his life because of that word, and tells you about the meaning in the text, you can get something out of every sermon,” Campbell said.

Creamer admitted how easy it is to become a critic of the sermon. “I know how to sit and listen to a sermon and just detail what’s wrong with it. No sermon is perfect,” he said.

“You probably need to look at your own heart before you look at your preacher’s preaching. You need to come in, sit down, listen and count on hearing something from God.”

“Most people don’t know how emotionally draining it is to preach a sermon,” Campbell added. “You preach once or twice on Sunday and you’re wiped out. You lay your soul out there, and you want people to get it.”

A kind word following a sermon can go a long way to encourage the preacher. “Give good honest feedback,” he suggested. “If the guy fumbled, let him know in a loving way.” If the pastor has built a relationship with the member, he can handle constructive criticism, he added.

“I guarantee he wants to preach better and communicate better,” Campbell said. “They want to share the Word in a way that is creative and engaging so that people will understand it.”

The Oct. 31 interview with Campbell is available at or by subscribing to the podcast for “Coffee with Creamer.” 

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