When You Fail A Sermon

Pastors and leaders —

There are times when we will totally bomb a sermon or Bible Study. We ramble on and on, miss major points, fail to connect big ideas, confuse the theology, and lose sleep over how it could’ve gone better. For every good one you preach or teach, there is bound to be a fail.

You might think, “Is this it? Am I out of good stuff? I thought I was improving. Did I pray enough? When will I ever be like those good preachers? Can I get a re-do?” I know. Every Monday, you can find me in my boxers and a blanket beating myself up over these things. I am easily discouraged too.

It happens to all of us. The hard part is: Sunday is coming again. You need to prepare once more. You have to reset the clock. And the insecurity is eating at your guts.

But the good news is: Sunday is coming again. You get another opportunity. You get your re-do. Most people will have reset their own brains from last week. You have the privilege to bring the Word once more. And it was never about you anyway.

Live to preach another day. Prepare a better meal for your eager people, and practice your craft. Pray like crazy. Most importantly, love the people you teach, or it won’t matter. Be encouraged that we even get to do this at all.

Even when you might totally fail again: you don’t know what God is up to. He might use your terrible sermon to speak to just that one person who needs it. But study up and do better. It is not an easy thing to preach God’s Word: so don’t be too hard on yourself. Sunday is coming, and God is already there. Do your best and He will speak.

— J

8 thoughts on “When You Fail A Sermon

    1. Thanks, my friend. Sometimes it’s tough when the congregation likes the “stories” better than the Bible, but then our ministry is never about pleasing people.


  1. Without fail it has been the sermons I’ve labored over…praying hard, writing and rewriting, and eventually tossing in the can to restart–they have been the ones people have come to me about expressing how meaningful they were to them. I walk away scratching my head. Just as long as God’s having his way with me, I’m okay I guess. 🙂


    1. Awesome! Often it’s the opposite for me. I get tempted to over-prepare so I stuff a sermon with every thought flying through my brain, hoping something will stick — but it’s like a shotgun spray. The sermons that have stuck are always the personal convictions birthed from Scripture and prayer. As David Martin-Jones said, “Preaching is theology coming through a man on fire.”


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