10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Pastor Right After the Sermon


Preparing a sermon is a lot of work. For me, 10 to 20 hours on the average, plus the hours of contemplating, praying, & thinking.

And, every preacher will agree, some sermons work out well, and some sermons don’t go as planned at all!

If there is anything I am most self-critical about, it is my sermons. If I know that the sermon did not go completely as I imagined it, my day is not the same anymore! Ive learned to appreciate people who take time to give feedback to make me a better communicator, but the feedback is taken much more better a couple of days or maybe a week after a sermon was preached!

Yet, many times, some people give no thought to what they can or can’t say to any preacher after speaking a sermon, and they let their opinions be known!

Thom Rainer, one of my favorite bloggers, has compiled a pretty accurate list of 10 things many pastors hear after a sermon, that probably should not have been spoken after a sermon.

SIDETONE TO PREACHERS: let it be known: the moment your mouth opens, you’ll get criticism.  If you want to be in ministry and be effective, somebody will disagree with you. If we are going to last long in ministry and be healthy, instead of looking for the perfect listeners, we need to learn to deal with criticism. If you have a minute, please read this blog, on what to do after you preach.

Here is his list:

  1. “I am going to be late for lunch because you preached so long.”

  2. “You must not have had much time to prepare that sermon.”

  3. “My former pastor preached a much better sermon from that text.”

  4. “I wish {fill in the blank} would have heard that sermon.”

  5. “You act like you weren’t feeling well while you preached.”

  6. “I’m sorry I fell asleep while you were preaching. Your voice just puts me to sleep.”

  7. “Your subject/verb agreement was incorrect three times in your sermon.”

  8. “I wish you wouldn’t preach from the Old Testament.”

  9. “Let me tell you what you missed in your sermon.”

  10. “Are we ever going to be done with this sermon series?”

If you are a preacher and you are reading this blog, what sort of things have been HELPFUL and ENCOURAGING for you to hear after a sermon? Please comment below.

5 thoughts on “10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Pastor Right After the Sermon

  1. Thanks for posting this Russell, Yes criticism is sometimes difficult to deal with. Hearing advice and commentary from the right people is always helpful. I think it’s important from both the preacher to know how to accept criticism and for the listener to give the right advice and know how to give it is very important.
    Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend your thoughts into words when you are on stage. That is one thing public speakers need to know and your blog on C.S. Lewis’ s last interview gives great advice for writers and preachers.
    To know what you want to say and make sure you are saying that.

    People need to realize that preachers are people and also do care about what others think of their sermons and them up there. C.S. Lewis’ s advice also applies well for the one commentating on a sermon- Know what they want to say and make sure they are truly saying that.

  2. I glanced over the comments and I have one question. Do people actually say stupid things like that? It seems so childish it’s difficult to believe that people are actually that shallow.

    1. Lily, Some people do but people who preach know that preaching is not easy. Its not about just saying something in front of an audience. But it is about sharing what God wants to say to us. I guess people just think its easy. But once they are up there they will know that it is not.

  3. Russell, first off, let me just start by saying that I highly appreciate you. I appreciate the time, effort, and prayer that you put into your sermons. I appreciate your sermons overall. You are one of my favorite preachers and you always have a good message to share. I’m always blessed by your sermons and I often recommend them to other people. When I met my cousins in North Carolina just a few weeks back, I told them about City On A Hill. Turns out, they sometimes listen to sermons preached at City Hill. I know that many are blessed by your sermons. As for me, being a fairly new and young preacher, I always want to know what others thought of my sermon. Often times, people tell me how what I preached applied to them in their lives. It always encourages me to keep going and move further. I think that when God speaks to a person through a sermon, one of the best things they can do is tell that preacher. I love it when I know that people are receiving from my sermons. It encourages me to keep preaching and push for more. One thing I can tell you, Russell, is that many are blessed by your sermons. Though some may disrespect it, I’m one that values, appreciates, and receives from your sermons. I look up to you. Thank you, Russell.

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