After a Good Sermon…

So, if you don’t know, I’m sorta socially awkward. I’m a huge introvert. I tend to make jokes (often only funny to me) when I feel uncomfortable. I like the comfort of my own space. I like to go to Borders or Barnes and Nobles and spend hours reading graphic novels about Superman, Spider-Man, Batman and so forth. Why do I tell you this? I have no idea, I thought I was going somewhere with this, but apparently not.

Anyway, there are those few Sundays where I really feel good about what I just preached.
But what follows, I just don’t know how to handle, and I’m pretty sure I come off as… well, awkward.

It’s when people come up to me and tell me how great of a sermon I preached, or how good I was or however they compliment me. I just don’t know what to say.
I don’t like saying thank you, because it doesn’t feel natural. The only reason why one of my sermons is good is because of God. If it was on my own strength and talents, well… I wouldn’t be asked to preach much. So, when I say thank you, I feel like I’m taking credit for something I had a little part in.
If I just smile and shake their hand, I feel that I may come off as conceited, arrogant, almost like, of course I did a good job.
So what do I do? Laugh nervously and say “no” a lot and thank them. For example:
“Thank you so much for your sermon. That was really great! I really enjoyed it!”
*nervous laughter* “no no no no no” *more nervous laughter* “no no, really thank you!” *end with nervous laughter*

That exchange leaves me feeling awkward. It’s really an awkward time for me, the meet and greet time after the service. I don’t know what is wrong with me in that I just say thank you and move on.

I think God designed that little awkwardness and uncomfortableness inside of me so that I don’t get too big headed and conceited, which can easily happen to me. It’s amazing how many times I can make things about me. So perhaps, this is a good thing to keep me in check. I just wish I weren’t so awkward.

5 thoughts on “After a Good Sermon…

  1. I know a pastor who responds to these kinds of compliments by smiling and saying, “Isn’t God good?!” Anyway, your thoughts kind of reminded me of that. I usually just say thank you.

  2. It’s so easy to say anything… but I don’t know why I make things so difficult and stressful myself.
    Honestly, how difficult is it to smile and say, thank you or isn’t God good?
    Not hard at all!
    But yet.. something’s wrong with me.
    My psych evals from commissioning process came out okay.
    but, something’s not right in my head. =)

  3. i really don’t like to hear “you did a great job!”, as if i had just done a presentation to be graded by the congregants. with such comments, i feel like that my preaching has stooped to a mere performance, rather than me being used as an instrument in sharing the Gospel. i would rather hear ‘thank you for your sermon’ than ‘you did excellent’. i simply smile if i hear ‘great job’, and pray in my head that they’ll learn to ‘hear’ the word of God next time rather than being focused on how well i deliver the message. now as for ‘the message was very clear to me’, i respond something like, ‘i’m happy to hear that(the message has touched you).’
    my ultimate goal is to hear ‘my life has changed for better because i’ve heard your message’. hahahahahahahahaha

  4. If you have time, you might ask them, what was it that you liked / made a difference for you in the message today? This engages on a deeper level and like Sunyoung mentions, does is not just about presentation.

    If someone comes up to you the next week and mentions something from the sermon last week, then I count that as really having made an impact.

  5. I really concur with Andrew’s 2nd comment, and it’s especially neat when they remember something 2 or more weeks out and I can’t even remember what I had said.

    Also along with Andrew, I’ve heard of a pastor who asked something like, “How did God speak to you through the message?” and/or “What are you going to take home from that today?”

    Of course, then that really backs up the line and people get mad cause the Baptists will get to all the restaurants before they do. 🙂

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