After the Sermon

By Chad Williams
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Confession: I have been preaching 7 years and for 7 years I have struggled in the minutes and hours after I preach a sermon. My mind is fuzzy, but there are people to meet. My heart is somehow both overflowing and completely empty. After the sermon there is much work left to do. Now of course, I try to be a good listener as people share personal concerns, prayer requests and offer feedback on the message, but I can feel my social energy fading fast. After the sermon, I’m usually looking for the nearest place to hide. I must say, I’m not naturally an introvert but most Sunday afternoons I tend to become one. In these post-sermon struggles, I wrestle with questions like: Am I finding too much identity in preaching? Am I expecting preaching itself to fill some hole that only the Christ I preach of can fill? Am I too dependent on the affirmation of men and the immediate gratification that it provides? The transition to weekly preaching responsibilities forced me to deal with this issue head on and for that I am grateful. Though, certainly, victory over this post-sermon “depression” can be fleeting. Quite frankly, I have good weeks and bad weeks. In light of this area of struggle in my personal ministry I found the book Preach by Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert incredibly helpful and edifying, particularly this quote:

“Immediate feedback—as much as we crave instant gratification—isn’t the point. A pastorate is made up of a lot of sermons, and the fact is, most of those sermons are going to be singles rather than triples or home runs. But that’s fine. If the Lord is so kind as to give you even a long string of singles, that’s purely of His grace and your congregation will benefit and grow from that. So don’t worry if you haven’t hit a homerun in a while—and if you hit one today, don’t get cocky! Either way, go home, rest, thank God for the grace He gave you to teach and encourage His people again, take some time off, and then start the whole process over the next week. Our God is a good God, and week after week, sermon after sermon, He will give grace and strength and insight to the men who preach His word.”(pg. 130)

After the sermon I need to be reminded of God’s grace.

After the sermon I need to be reminded that my identity and worth is not found in the excellence (or lack thereof) of my preaching but in Christ.

After the sermon I need to be reminded that God’s Word will not return to Him void.

After the sermon I need to rest in and be reminded of the Gospel that I just preached.

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Chad Williams is the Pastor of Preaching and Teaching at HighView Church in Villa Rica.