Building a Sermon Feedback Team

In Part 1 of the Leveraging Feedback series, we discussed the fact that feedback is inevitable in the world of preaching and speaking. It comes with the territory. And yet, that doesn’t mean you have to absorb the feedback and give it credibility. In fact, we gave you the permission to ignore feedback.

Suggesting that we ignore feedback implies that maybe we’re a little too thin-skinned and unwilling to receive helpful feedback. And that would be true if it weren’t for what we are going to discuss today — building a feedback team. A feedback team is a group of trusted and credible people who love you and the organization enough to be completely honest, helpful and critical whenever necessary about your sermon or presentation.

I like the way Perry Noble of NewSpring Church describes this team. “I need to be careful when listening to foes or fans,” Perry says. “I need to listen to friends, those who both love me AND the church.”

So what does a feedback team look like? There are certainly lots of ways to approach this but here’s what I look for in proactively seeking and leveraging feedback. I go over my talk before I deliver it with people who:

  • Ask great questions about the talk.
  • Are more interested in helping the talk get better than me feel better.
  • Are experienced in crafting and delivering engaging presentations.

In other words, I look for friends who ask great questions and have experience with presentations themselves.

There are people in your church who give presentations every week. They are professional presenters. You should leverage their experience and talent to help you improve.

I have several people that I ask help from in leading up to my messages. In Part 3, I am going to introduce you to two of these friends — one of them is on staff at Gwinnett Church, one is not.¬†They also provide evaluation feedback after my talks. This ensures that I have a fantastic feedback system that helps me prepare and then evaluate how to improve. Then, when other feedback comes in, good or bad, I don’t have to be swayed either way. I can rest assured I did my very best and am attempting to improve, thanks to my feedback team.

How about you? Who is helping you with your next talk? What does your feedback system look like?

– Jeff