Bonus: If you really want honest answers and are feeling brave, ask your spouse or a trusted friend to answers these questions about you.
1. Who am I really trying to please?
Are you only trying to please God? Or are you spending all your effort to please everyone else?
You will never be able to please everyone. Stop trying to. If you fail to please God, you fail completely. But if your life and ministry pleases God, nothing else matters. (Galatians 1:10)
2. Am I keeping the main thing the main thing?
Many pastors preach on a lot of different topics, but aren’t focused on the main target. Sometimes I wonder if many of us have forgotten the reason we preach in the first place.
The goal isn’t to teach the entire Bible. The goal isn’t to teach self-improvement. The goal isn’t social justice. We get sidetracked with good things that aren’t the main thing.
The goal is to preach the Gospel. Help non-Christians meet Jesus. Help veteran Christians fall more in love with Jesus. Preach the good news of salvation. (Mark 16:15)
3. Who am I speaking to?
You have to know your audience. Hang out with them. Get to now them. What do they like? What do they hate? What are their biggest dreams? What are their biggest struggles? What are their biggest fears?
If you don’t now your audience, you won’t connect with them. When you know your audience, you will speak on their level. People will walk away thinking you we’re speaking directly to them.
When Paul visited Athens, he examined their culture. He quoted their poets. He reasoned with them on a philosophical level, because that is what their culture valued. Paul learned about his audience so he could more effectively speak to them. (Acts 17:16-34)
4. Am I practicing what I preach?
If you are convicted by your own message, make the change that you are going to ask your audience to do. Nobody is perfect. Thank you Jesus for grace! However, make an effort to live with integrity.
If and when you do mess up, have the courage to at least admit you don’t have it all figured out. Be honest with the audience that this is an area you still have a hard time with some times.
Don’t pretend to be perfect. Don’t be a hypocrite. (Matthew 23:27-28)
5. Am I getting glory?
Who is really getting the praise, you or God? Don’t try to be a famous preacher. Preach to make God famous.
Don’t take credit for any blessings God has given your ministry. Don’t fish for compliments. Don’t accept praise from others. Stay humble and deflect all the praise to God.
God created everything. All glory belongs to Him. (Romans 11:36)
6. Do I need help?
Check your pride. If you are in over your head, get help. Find a mentor. Find a coach. See a counselor. Read a book. Subscribe to ProPreacher.com (shameless plug). Learning from the experience of others will help you grow faster than you ever could on your own.
Don’t hold yourself back because you won’t admit that you don’t know everything. Get advice. (Proverbs 12:15)
7. What do I want the audience to do with what I just said?
Be crystal clear about how to apply the message. Give specific examples. Paint a picture of what it would look like for people to actually practice what you just preached.
Preaching without application makes lazy Christians. Teach them not just to listen to the Word, but to do what it says. (James 1:22)
Which one of these questions hits you the hardest?