Evaluating Sermons

I recently developed several sermon evaluation criteria for the pastoral interns at our church - both to help them in their preparation and preaching, and to help me as I evaluate their messages. The criteria list is not meant to be a comprehensive list of essential ingredients for a good sermon, nor does it espouse any one particular view or method of preaching. It's purpose is simply to ask the kinds of questions that tend toward faithful, heartfelt, biblical, God-exalting, gospel-oriented preaching. If you are a preacher or teacher, perhaps you'll find the criteria helpful.

Sermon Evaluation Criteria for Calvin’s Interns

  1. Engaging the Audience – Are people interested, listening, and engaged as you preach? Is your sermon relevant to your listeners?
  2. Sincerity and Conviction – Do you believe what you’re preaching? Do you live what you’re preaching? Do you care about what you’re preaching? Do you preach with conviction and passion?
  3. Clarity in Order and Purpose – Can your sermon be easily understood? Can your listeners naturally follow the flow of your thoughts? Is the sermon’s purpose evident?
  4. Biblical Exegesis – Have you spent time doing the exegetical work? Have you answered all of the important questions that the passage raises? Do you understand the original author’s intent, audience, and message?
  5. Application – Have you “bridged the gap” between the ancient passage and your contemporary listeners? Have you called your listeners to faith and action?
  6. God-Centered – Does the sermon exalt God? Does the sermon explain who God is and his dealings with his people?
  7. Presence of the Gospel – Is the message of the gospel present and clear in each sermon? Is the graciousness of God through Christ present and clear in each sermon? Are people challenged to look to Christ – to receive and rest on him alone? In short, is it a distinctly "Christian" sermon?