Thursday, April 23, 2009

Preachers Should Watch Their Own Preaching!

I preached my final sermon in PR602 - Preaching for Modern Listeners. I got a pretty good grade on it but I thought that I should have gotten an even better grade so I mentioned that to the professor. He suggested I meet with him to discuss the sermon. He even mentioned that he would be open to reevaluating my grade. So in preparation for that meeting I watched my sermon on DVD. Long story short — I didn't ask him to reevaluate my grade. My sermon was a decent one but it wasn't nearly as good as what I thought it was. I'm now glad to receive the grade that I did. Dr. Jeffrey Arthurs, my prof, was quick to tell me that video magnifies every flaw because all the focus is on the preacher. In person, you would be looking around once in a while, seeing the entire stage, etc. But on video the preacher is right in the center of the screen. It magnifies every flaw. That means my sermon wasn't as bad as I thought when I watched the DVD but it wasn't as good as it felt with I was preaching it.

I learned some important lessons about myself and how I preach. I won't share them here but suffice it so say that I'll make this a regular practice in the future. Every preacher should regularly watch their own preaching with a critical eye. Not to tear themselves down but to get better. It will have a huge impact on becoming a better preacher.

BTW, if video magnifies the flaws of the preacher that means that they preachers we admire on TV or DVD are actually really, really good! They overcome the flaws.


Darrin Gowan said...

The ability to look good on TV or DVD has little to do with how good a preacher they are. In fact, the polish that it takes to "overcome the flaws" may also dissuade hearers from thinking critically about the content.
Still, in a visual society, you have got to look good to sound good. Those Britian's Got Talent ladies don't get a second glance in the pulpit.

Mark Schnell said...

I agree with you, Darrin. There are plenty of preachers that are cotton candy. They look good but don't have much to offer in the way of nourishment.

I'm speaking specifically about the content of preaching more than the physical looks though. Since I was watching my sermon with a critical eye to content all those content flaws jump out. I'm scared to consider how my physical appearance might affect my message! ;-)

BTW, speaking of appearances, is there a middle ground between looking too good and too ugly that would help a preacher?!