Giving feedback to Dad after sermons.

I give feedback. It’s part of what I do, cause I’m an INTJ. Giving and receiving feedback is also part of the Health Education training. I had a reputation of giving killer feedback in my master’s degree. That’s what got me an A ;).

Whenever my adoptive dad preaches, which has become more often, I like to give him feedback on what he preached. So I do my best to listen to him and take mental notes so I can bring it up to him the next day.

I think that he is the most educated and balanced new ministers there. It’s probably one of the reasons why he is being promoted at a accelerated rate. In the context of my church, being promoted to preach with a certain regularity is one of the most positive feedback that you can get, but it doesn’t say much as to how to improve. Because I see that, and he is my Dad, I want him to be the best preacher he can be. Because of my academic training in giving feedback and my training in communication and preaching, I think that I can (and should) give feedback as to how to better his delivery of sermons. In a way, it gives him an edge over others that might be still figuring it out.

Last Sunday, he gave the sermon. Yesterday, I gave him my feedback. I thought that, because I became more accepting of what was becoming his style (which is more testimony based with a theological truth), he was going to have a better opinion of my feedback. The response was just as defensive as ever, if not more.

I learned from my academic training that silence was an integral part of receiving feedback. For me, it’s not that hard to follow that because I have a pretty good sense of when the conversation merits me being silent and just taking what is being said actively. This is part of the INTJ nature. Dad is an ESTJ and his natural reaction is to be defensive and explain the validity of his actions, regardless of whether the feedback is negative or positive. I understand that this is a natural reaction regardless of personality type, but I just wish that he would not interrupt me as much this time.

It’s because of the interruptions that I prefer giving feedback in written form. I can express my ideas fully without the fear of interruptions and invalidation of what I’m trying to portray. But my Dad wants me to better my verbal communication, so this feedback happened via phone call.

Because of the purposefulness of my feedback, he asked what was my goal in the feedback I gave; whether it was to help better the spiritual or structural aspect of giving a sermon. I explained that I have no right to really intervene in the spiritual aspect because that was between him and God; my role was to help with the structure and delivery of the sermon. I am biased, but I am not sure if he understood where I came from or the real value of what I was doing. For that reason, I don’t think that his response to this statement was that positive.

My hope is that with time, he not only understands my intent but he is able to apply the good and God-backed part of my feedback and better his sermon delivery. I also hope that when it is my turn to preach again he would do the same with me.


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