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7 Easy Ways to Ruin a Great Sermon (and How to Fix It)

6. Crash landings

I’ve been guilty of this too many times: crash landing a message. In the same way communicators don’t pre-plan their introduction, many of us fail to think about how we’ll end a message. So we crash land it.

Better to think it through.

These days, I usually close by reminding people of the call to action, reflecting on what will happen if they do it (some inspiration), and then often repeating the bottom line of the message.

You can create your own pattern for endings, but the point is to have an intentional ending, not an accidental ending.

7. Resistance to feedback

I realize how terribly painful it is to listen to a talk you’ve given, or worse, to watch a video of you delivering a sermon.

After decades of public communication, I still don’t like the sound of my own voice. And I think I look like a complete geek on video. It’s painful to watch and listen to myself.

You know what most communicators do because of this?

They never watch or listen to themselves.

Question: Why would you expect people to watch you speak if you won’t watch you speak?

You have to become methodical about evaluating yourself. Watch. Listen.

And create a system for feedback. Every Tuesday, six of us meet to review the weekend service. And everyone gets a chance to critique my message. Yes, it hurts sometimes. But I want to get better. I have to get better.

Read your inbox, too. Don’t be defensive, but humbly ask God to let all feedback grow you as a person and as a speaker. The more open to feedback you are, the better you will become.

Want Someone to Help You Get Better?

If you want more on how to become a better communicator, I would encourage you to sign up for the Preaching Rocket’s Core program. (affiliate link). Jeff Henderson is an incredible communicator, and through Preaching Rocket he shares his technique and the very best learnings from communicators like Andy Stanley, Judah Smith, Louis Giglio, Nancy Duarte and more.

What Mistakes Do You See?

I hope this is helpful. What mistakes have you made as a communicator? What mistakes have you seen others make? How would you address them?  

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.