I have often thought about compiling a list of truisms about preachers and preaching. I don't want them to sound unkind or cynical, but rather reflect the common condition. One of my advantages over the last few years has been a wider exposure to other people's views of preaching and these insights need to be incorporated. But I reckon on just enough self-awareness to be able to apply these to myself.
So what is the first truism? 1. Most preachers regard themselves as above average. Most of us who preach regularly know we are not five-star preachers, but we still have a pretty healthy regard for our ability. In a survey of preachers conducted by a professor friend of mine, all responded that preaching was one of their main gifts. However, this was not evident when listening to many of them!
By definition average denotes that some fall below as well as above in gifting. Recognizing this fact, and the possibility that we might even be below average, is the first step to developing God's gift further. We should reflect humbly that improvement is always possible and often needed! The applause of well-meaning people should never allow us to exaggerate the status quo.
I guess you can argue that preachers need some self-assurance to undertake the calling (which God promises) but honest self-assessment is too often awol. Do you think this is a fair observation?