A preacher’s view of his own messages can be an emotional roller–coaster ride driven by his moods and the responses of the congregation. We dare not evaluate ourselves by measurable results such as increased attendance or new members joining the church. My father was once so moved by a child’s intense listening that he questioned her about what she found so important. She responded, ‘I was trying to figure out if you had shaved this morning.
We must regularly evaluate our preaching to know if we are growing as preachers. Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892) said to his ministerial students, ‘I give you the motto, ‘Go forward.’ Go forward in personal attainments, forward in gifts and in grace, forward in fitness for the work, and forward in conformity to the image of Jesus.’ He went on to say, ‘If there be any brother here who thinks he can preach as well as he should, I would advise him to leave off altogether.