Has Sin Crept into Your Preaching – Taken from Lewis Allen, The Preacher’s Catechism

Side angle photo of pastor preaching from a wooden pulpit with a closed bible on top

In his excellent book The Preacher’s Catechism, Lewis Allen asks every preacher to ask questions concerning the motivation of preaching periodically. As I read his list of questions, I was convicted that, at times, sin creeps into my preaching. Be warned, sin can and does creep into preaching. Below is his list of six questions to help you assess if sin has crept into your preaching:

1. What happens in my heart when people thank me for my preaching?

Do I straight away silently thank God that they were blessed? Or do I thank myself for my skills as a preacher?

2. When I preach a terrible sermon, why does it devastate me? 

Is it because I don’t think Christ’s sheep have been fed? Or is it because my ego hasn’t been stroked?

3. Do I preach to serve my hearers or to scratch my own preaching itches? 

Do I choose passages for the pulpit because I know they will serve where my hearers are in need or because I prefer them and think I preach them well?

4. When someone says something critical that is true but painful about my preaching (to me or to someone else, and it has gotten back to me), is my first response angry self-pity, or do I give God thanks for this Spirit-given opportunity to grow in my preaching?

5. Should I adopt a different preaching tone and style or perhaps preach shorter sermons in order to reach my hearers more effectively? 

Or do pride and fear tie me to preaching as I always have? 

6. Do I ever have the courage to ask those closest to me (my wife or the church’s leaders) about my preaching? 

Am I prepared for honest and loving feedback, or do I wish to keep justifying my ministry exactly as it is?

I admit that these questions are uncomfortable. And yet, I am convinced each of us needs to go to God and ask Him to reveal if sin has crept into our preaching. “May He give us the grace to be truer preachers, for Christ’s sake.” 
Preachers of the Gospel must also take evangelism seriously. Does your church have an evangelistic strategy?

This article was written by state missionaries Rob Jackson and Ken Allen.