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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Communicator Focused vs. Recipient Focused

I was recently listening to a podcast by Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He was talking about the power of preaching and how to tell a good preacher. He said that the difference is if the sermon is communicator focused or recipient focused. The former is when the preacher feels good about the sermon preached. The latter is when the church is transformed by the sermon.

Mark said that he measures the effectiveness of a preacher or teacher through the transformation of the listeners. That's huge. Too often we want to be our own judges as we preach - some of us will go so far as to ask our wife what she thought. But, if we're honest, most of us just take the compliments we receive after church at face value. "Nice sermon." "Good lesson." "Thanks for sharing."

What if we had an anonymous survey that asked, not if people liked the sermon, but if they have applied the principles that were preached?

Would this change your use of media in your preaching? If the focus is on the church, shouldn't we do everything we can to communicate to them in transformational ways?


Anonymous said...

I have never put much stock in the compliments or occasional complaints I have received on my sermons (the later usually coming in the form of passive-agression). Church members want to be encouraging and therefore will always offer a compliment...and if the sermon should challenge their theology, values, or habbits in a way they did not want, they might find some unrelated reason to complain. (I had one person who constantly complained and I learned that he was one of the fill-in preachers until they hired me, and he was opposed to hiring me...his complaints were just a smoke screen for another problem).

What I listen for, to guage my effectiveness as a communicator, is if people are actually talking about what I said...are they asking further questions, wrestling with a thought. Secondly, beyond talk, over time do I see changes in the way they think about being a Christian which is resulting in changed action. That ussually takes a period of time but sometimes those changes are evident immediately. I have a story about this but it is too long for the comment section.

Grace and peace,

K. Rex Butts

James Wood said...

Great point, Rex. Seeing that people are engaging the message is a huge indication that what you said actually landed. I would much rather have a question about my sermon than a vague compliment like: "Enjoyed the lesson."