Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

WHY JOHNNY CAN’T PREACH – The Annual Review Idea

As a co-pastor at an English Ministry – I try to read a few books on preaching per year, in the hope that my preaching will slowly improve.

I recently picked up a funny and instructive good by T. David Gordon (I am pretty sure he taught me Intermediate Greek at GCTS – even though I remember falling asleep in some of his classes from my early shifts at UPS :)): Why Johnny Can’t Preach.

[This is an useful book for any pastor - I just don't see how you could pass this one to your pastor without more or less sending the message that he can't preach :)].

There are many insights in this book – I will limit this post to his section on “The Annual Review” (pp. 33-34):

“My final argument to prove that preaching is in bad shape today is the annual review – or, to be more exact, its absence.  Almost no churches conduct an annual review of the pastoral staff [this is certainly true in Romanian Baptist churches...]…I believe it is absolutely essential for any professional to have an annual review of his labor.  Those of us who teach are reviewed; those who work in business are reviewed.  Every other realm of labor recognizes the importance of an annual review, in which strengths and weaknesses can be assessed as a means to a more fruitful service in the future…

So why don’t churches routinely conduct annual reviews of their ministers? Because ministers don’t want to be told that their preaching is disorganized , hard to follow, irrelevant, and poorly reasoned; [TRUE - I certainly don't want/like to be told that...] and because churches do not want to insult their ministers or hurt their feelings.

Therefore, I suggest that the very absence of annual reviews stands as glaring proof that preaching is so bad today that no one – neither the preacher nor the hearer – can tolerate the thought of how painful it would be to provide an honest assessment.”

Hard to argue with T. David Gordon on this one.  I am convinced that an annual review of my preaching would hurt…but I believe that it would be for my good and that of the congregation!

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2 responses

  1. Danomatic

    Your preaching is expository and faithful.

    January 27, 2010 at 1:24 am

  2. Thanks Dan. It means a lot coming from you.
    God knows I try…but I still have a long way to go!

    February 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm

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