“Great job…good sermon…that really spoke to me.” The list of phrases a pastor may hear as church members exit the church goes on. Inevitably, whether the sermon was good or not, these quick comments will be spoken to us with varying levels of sincerity and it is important that we know how to respond in a God-honoring way. Here are 4 suggestions:
1) Say Thank You. It is sad when a pastor tries to wear a false humility to hide either his insecurities or inability to know how to receive a kind word. It usually shows up in a pastor’s response after a kind, encouraging comment in this way, “Uh…no it wasn’t a good sermon. I missed it here, stumbled over my words here…” Just stop it and say “thank you for your kind words.”
2) Be grateful for the encouragement. Regardless the comment, if it was meant to encourage you, thank them for their encouraging words. Be grateful that however small, simple, or even shallow the comment, someone took the time to share their thoughts with you. Be grateful and receive it that way.
3) Be Humble that the Lord would dare use you. What should humble us more than a hearer taking time to encourage us about our sermon, is the fact that God would choose to use broken vessels like us week after week, Sunday after Sunday to feed God’s people with God’s word. That should amaze us with every kind word extended to us. When it ceases to amaze us, then we should start worrying.
4) Give God all the Glory. The great temptation when complimented about a sermon is to think the fruit of our labors ultimately is about us and because of us. When a kind word is extended to us about our sermon, make sure God is credited and praised. Not superficially, but sincerely. We can give God glory with our lips in response, but inside be welling up with pride.
In light of these suggestions, here are a few ways I think it is appropriate to respond to a kind word extended to us after a sermon:
“Thank you for your kind words, isn’t God good the way he speaks to each of us through his word.”
“Thank you for your encouragement, I am grateful to God he used his word in that way.”
“I am grateful you took the time to share the way God’s word has affected you. This passage effected me in similar ways. God is so gracious.”
On a future post, I will address this recently asked question: how should a pastor’s wife respond when she is complimented about her husband’s sermon.