I was joking with my congregation recently and told them that I preach better when they sing passionately during our worship service. I went on to tell them that the quality of my preaching that day was completely dependent on them. We laughed together. But it got me thinking about ways in which a congregation can really help their pastor’s preaching.
1) Pray for your pastor and his message – this means praying for him/her at times during the week as they study and prepare. Then praying for them on Sunday as they begin the message as well. When you invest in the message ahead of time through prayer you are more likely to view the message positively. It is always good to pray for your pastor, but praying for their sermon prep is vital.
2) Look interested and engaged during the message – While your pastor is speaking look up and be engaged in what is being said. Look at your bible or notes, but there is a lot of time to be looking up. Looking up lets your pastor know you are listening and it encourages him. When your pastor is encouraged he/she preaches better.
3) Inform your pastor that you pray for his/her preparation – we all appreciate knowing that people are praying for us. Be specific and let your pastor know you are praying for their study and preparation. Even ask if there is something in particular you can pray for as they prepare this week. Knowing that people are praying as I study gives me strength throughout the week.
4) Be a participant in the whole worship service – when you sing during the music, when you pray during prayer time and when you give during the offering you are fully invested in the worship service. When you are invested and engaged in the whole service you are prepared to hear, receive and respond to your pastor’s sermon.
5) Speak positively about your pastor, and his/her preaching, during the week – this will give you a positive outlook as you enter on Sunday and it will help others to approach the message positively. Even if your pastor is not a great orator, speak positively about them and you may be surprised at how much better the sermons become.
It is always easier to preach to a group that is supportive, expectant, positive, prayerful and engaged. Try some of these things and see what happens. You may discover that your pastor is preaching better. At the very least you will know that you have done your best to support and encourage your pastor.
Here’s hoping that the message you receive this week is outstanding.