How should a pastor respond to an encouraging word said about his sermon?

“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 ate up with pride.

Suggested Responses:

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.”

Pastors, receive the kind words offered to you. Be encouraged by it. It will help you through the discouragement that often comes on Monday. And stay humble, for in 6 days you get to do it all over again.

Posted in Preaching, The Pastor's Soul
2 comments on “How should a pastor respond to an encouraging word said about his sermon?
  1. LB Knowles says:

    I always thought this one would work best:

    Member: “Thank you for your sermon, Pastor. It was really good.”

    Pastor: (Exuberant) “Yeah…wasn’t it absolutely fabulous?!”

    M: (Puzzled)”Uh, yes…”

    P: “I was thrilled when it came to me too.”

  2. Great post. Seems like you share Paul’s attitude in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

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