At the back of Christopher Ash’s small book Listen Up!: A Practical Guide to Listening to Sermons, he lists 7 suggestions for encouraging good preaching. Here they are…
1. Pray for the preachers.
2. From time to time, tell the preachers that you are praying for them and looking forward with expectancy to the sermon.
3. Be there. You may be surprised what an encouragement it is just to have you there.
4. Thank them afterwards for things you learned. Don’t flatter or just give vague comments about how good it was (if it was). Try to be specific and focus on the biblical content of the sermon.
5. Be prepared to be constructively and supportively critical. Ask the preachers to help you see where they got a particular point from the passage. Be humble and respectful as you do this. It is much harder to preach that it is to criticize preaching.
6. Relate to your preachers as one human being to another human being. Remember that the best sermon by a remote preaching hero, heard on an MP3 recording, is no substitute for the word of God preached by a human being face to face with other human beings in the context of trust and love.
7. Be on the lookout for gifts of preaching and teaching in the church, and be ready to tap someone on the shoulder and suggest they develop these gifts and get further training.