Many of you earnestly desire to hear your pastors preach better sermons. While you can tell that he labours away, you long for more passion, more earnestness, more deliberateness, or more clarity. That’s understandable. Most preachers would like to grow in these ways as well. (And the ones who don’t really need prayer.)

One of the best ways you can help your pastor’s preaching is by praying for him. But did you know you can do even more than that? And it’s not that difficult, either.

Sometimes you can help your preacher preach better, with more zeal, simply by considering where you sit, whether you get there late or on time, what kind of non-verbal feedback you give as you listen, whether or not to keep your baby in the service, and what you do with your coats and umbrellas on a Sunday morning. Don’t take it from me, though. This is what CH Spurgeon, ‘The Prince of Preachers’ had to say about it:

Frequently, the audience itself, as a whole, will damp your [the preacher’s] zeal. You can see by their very look and manner that the people are not appreciating your warm-hearted endeavours, and you feel discouraged. Those empty benches also are a serious trial, and if the place be large, and the congregation small, the influence is seriously depressing: it is not every man who can bear to be “a voice crying in the wilderness.”

Disorder in the congregation also sadly afflicts sensitive speakers. The walking up the aisle of a woman with a pair of pattens, the squeak of a pair of new boots, the frequent fall of umbrellas and walking-sticks, the crying of infants, and especially the consistent lateness of half the assembly ; — all these tend to irritate the mind, take it off from its object, and diminish its ardour. We hardly like to confess that our hearts are so readily affected by such trifles, but it is so, and not at all to be wondered at. As pots of the most precious ointment are more often spoilt by dead flies than by dead camels, so insignificant matters will destroy earnestness more readily than greater annoyances. 1

I’m thankful to God for the people at Grace Fellowship Church. I’ve had visiting pastors comment many times on how attentive our congregation is to the Word. Every time someone has commented on this, it is almost immediately followed up with the comment, ‘It is so encouraging‘ or ‘it really makes me want to preach better!’ Amen!

To be clear, it is the preacher’s job to preach. It is his responsibility to do his job with all his heart as unto God and not unto men (Col 3.23). But that being said, wouldn’t you want to help him preach better if you could?

Notes:

  1. From Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students in the chapter, ‘On Earnestness’.