Preachers are sometimes a funny lot.

We work like crazy to deliver messages that are accurate, biblically sound, powerful, moving, God honoring, timely, and memorable for our churches and all who hear them.

But we often hate to listen to recordings of ourselves speaking.

This could be for a number of reasons:

    • Lack of Confidence – Maybe we really can’t bear to hear how we actually sound.
    • Arrogance – Maybe we don’t feel we need to improve in our preaching.
    • Ignorance – Maybe we just don’t see the need and advantages of listening to our sermons.

I had a pastor friend who used to refuse to listen to recordings of his sermons. “I preached it,” he would ask me, “so why should I have to listen to it?”  With a good-natured laugh, my answer to him was always: “Well, we had to listen to it! Why shouldn’t you?”

Preachers should listen to recordings of their own sermons.

Not for self-focused or arrogant reasons, but for the purpose of constantly improving and getting better at communicating the truth of the message to the people in our churches.

Side note:  If you listen to your own sermons because you think you’re brilliant and you just love the melodious sound of your voice, you have other issues to deal with…

The truth is, if you preached it, you haven’t really heard it. And there’s a lot that can be learned from hearing it.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from listening to my own sermons/talks/messages:

  • Some messages were not as good as I thought they were.
  • Some messages were better than I thought they were.
  • I have annoying habits that I need to work on.
  • I sometimes use repetitive phrases like, “you know,” and “and ah..”
  • I sometimes have a nervous laugh.
  • Sometimes I talk too fast
  • My introduction was too long.
  • My timing was off.
  • My energy level was not what I thought it was.
  • I can see through the “baloney.”
  • I was trying too hard.
  • I was not trying hard enough.
  • The joke was lame.
  • The message was too long.
  • The message was not long enough.
  • I hear what really worked and connected.
  • The application wasn’t clear.
  • I didn’t explain the theological concept clearly enough.
  • There’s more, but I think you get the idea.

Hearing these things the way others heard them when I preached them helps me to avoid those things the next time. I get better, my people understand and engage with the message better and God and His Word are better honored in the process.

I know you can obsess over this process, but the point is not to beat yourself up every week. The idea here is to sharpen and hone your ability to communicate the Word of God in a creative and compelling way.

James 1:19-20 says:
“19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – ESV”

So a word to my preaching pals:

Be quick to hear (Listen to your sermons).

Be careful (slow) about what and how you preach (speak).

And don’t get offended (angry) that I’m suggesting that you should listen to your own words. 🙂

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

Image credit: Wodonga Australia 
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 Johnny Leckie is a Christ Follower, Husband to Leona, and Father to MatthewMelissa & Michael. He is also a Church Planting Pastor, Musician, Artist, & Blogger. He’s a big fan of Coffee & Bacon and is currently planting a Church in Aurora, Colorado called Compass Church.  He is the founder of MinistryBackpack.com.