My Pastor Just Bombed A Sermon
Your pastor just “bombed” a sermon. It was bad. It for sure wasn’t good. It didn’t connect with you or from the looks of it with anyone in the congregation. You worry for your church and whether it will grow with sermons like that. You question if you can grow as a Christian listening to sermons like that.
Pastors sometimes have less than great sermons. It is the fact of life and ministry. Sometimes things just don’t go as expected or work out as they thought they did. Sometimes they lose track of where they were going with the sermon and so stumble or misstep. The question is then, “What do you do when your pastor bombs a sermon?” Here are some points that might help you process.
Watch your expectations. Were you expecting your local pastor to be as talented a speaker and preacher as the “big names?” If you were, you might have been setting your expectations a little too high. You should expect your pastor to do well and to have done his studying and preparations. But when you expect greatness you are disappointed by anything less. Rather expect your pastor to be who you know him to be. Expect him to faithfully deliver the Word and to do it as he is built to do it. And as you expect your pastor to be himself, support him in that. He will be different than some of the more well-known preachers, and that is a good thing. Support your pastors’ unique voice.
That is not the whole of your pastor and his ministry. Trust that this one bad or bombed sermon is not a full representation of his ministry and who he is. Chances are you have seen him really bring it. Chances are there have been sermons that connected with you and really “hit home.” So know that this one sermon is not the complete picture and that all pastors have some sermons that are better than others. When you are feeling critical remember all that your pastor has done for you, the hours of counseling, discipleship, and care. And let that temper the criticisms you might have. And then seek to share with him in a constructive manner your criticisms so that he can grow.
Love the truth that was presented. Even if a sermon wasn’t on mark, chances are that it contained God’s Word and truth. If it didn’t, that would be a different story altogether. So even if it didn’t connect or wasn’t as smooth as you thought it could be, look for the truth that you can pull from it and grab onto that.
Church is not about your pastor. The danger in recent years is following of the big personality that can overshadow why someone attends a certain church. In a day and age where we can listen to any of the great preachers of our time, we have a tendency to want to make much of the man rather than the Word. But church is not about who is delivering the Word, but rather that the Word is proclaimed. Church is about worshipping God, gathering as His people, hearing the Word, and loving one another in Christ’s name. It is not about who stands in front. And God never fails, never falls short, and so we will never be disappointed in Him.
What should you do when you pastor bombs a sermon? Love him. Listen to him. Help him grow through your support and encouragement.
Adam is the lead pastor at River Valley Community Church in Fort Smith, AR. He graduated from Denver Seminar in 2009 with his M.Div. Adam is married to Kacee, and they have two kids, Titus and Jillian.