“Great job pastor. Your message really hit the spot for me.”
Sixty-nine percent of pastors spend between ten and eighteen hours studying for their message on a weekly basis. Thirty-four percent of new guests return to a church as a direct result of a message they heard. In his post on why people don’t come back to a church, Carey Nieuwhof states that people do not come back to church because guests don’t understand what they’re taught.
If pastors want to attract and attach guests in their church, then they need to improve the overall quality of their messages.
Guests will not come back to your church if the message is messy. You may have the best kids ministry in the world, but that will only work for a season. To get people to stick, you need quality affinity ministries and a message that matters to your audience.
How does your message matter to your audience?
Look at the comment cards on a weekly basis and take it in. My guess is that ninety-nine percent of the comments are overly positive. There will be a few that write absolute vitriol or tell you your entire message blew. But my guess is that somewhere in those cards is one or two that speak truth from an angle you did not anticipate.
You need to understand that as the pastor of your church, your people love you and overwhelming want you to feel good about yourself. Even when you know you bombed, they wrote cards and tell you “Good Job!” after your message. They’re good people, but they are not helping you improve.
How do you take the turn from passive approval to active criticism, and improve the overall quality of your messages?
I want to give you three keys that have mattered for me and my messages. I have spoken to large and small audiences and have made a concerted effort to receive feedback after every delivery. Because of that intentionality, I have become a better communicator and my audience has become stickier (they keep coming back for more).
Close Your Feedback Loop with Three Keys that Matter for Messages
- Have a small group of close friends or co-workers who will sit down with you and dialogue your message. The worst place you can be in is a place where everyone says “Solid job pastor” and goes about their business. While the affirmation feels good, it doesn’t help. You need people who will keep you honest, discuss ways to improve, and affirm you where you hit a home run.
- Get an ally who will critique your messages on a regular basis. Part of this is becoming a person that is approachable; someone who is able to accept and receive criticism both positive and negative. You need an ally who wants the best for you as well as someone who will help you raise the bar of excellence in delivery.
- Develop a Message Feedback Form to keep you honest. Specifics and measurable matter as much as anything else. Your mentor and small group may end up saying great job, but if there are no metrics to your messages, then those are accolades without basis. Develop a feedback form to help close the loop with specifics and measurables that can be discussed and toss the fluff on the cutting room floor.
If you can close the loop with these three keys, then you can become a better speaker for your context, able to craft and deliver messages that matter. If you cannot close the loop, you are stuck in a loop that does nothing for no one.
Reaching the masses with a message that matters is our top priority. It’s too important not to work on. Close the loop. Embrace feedback. Become the bets you can be for yourself and your audience.