With plentiful access, there is seemingly less appreciation for their value.
Maybe it is because we can instantly retrieve the past sermons of powerful preachers from years past and the current sermons of passionate communicators. Or, maybe it’s because social media has wrecked our attention spans.
My task is not to reason why. I’ll simply state the point. Within and without the American Church, people seem to have less appreciation than ever for a good sermon. Alas, I know this subject opens up a can of other wormy questions and observations, which I will not explore.
Again, I’ll state my point for writing.
Within and without the American Church, people seem to have less appreciation than ever for a good sermon.Tweet
This is not a dissertation designed to address the problem. Instead, I want to address appreciation from a listening perspective. These three will help you appreciate the sermon you’re hearing as an informed listener. Truly, this can be a WIN-WIN situation!
- Watch for signs that this message is specifically for you. Timing matters to God (chronos & kairos). He wants to bless you with answers and help in your struggles. It’s His will that you grow and get better with every passing season. Is this sermon topic one that addresses an ongoing issue in your life? Is the message theme one that is crucial to your family’s present or future? Only you can answer those questions. But I beg you to watch for signs that this message is specifically for you. God loves to communicate with His people specifically.
- Internalize the message. Listen for a few minutes until the topic and or theme are clear. Now ask the Holy Spirit, “how does this apply to me?” Continue to prayerfully ingest the content. Either right after hearing it or before the day is over, continue to process what you’ve heard. Ask yourself more questions. “What should I do differently now that I’ve received this message?” “How can I pray for others as a result of this sermon?”
- Never doubt the message of God’s Word. Listen to the message again (if possible or necessary) to separate the preacher’s obvious personal opinions from the actual text of Scripture or collection of verses shared. You have permission to forget the cute illustration or vain attempt at humor. Those were designed to help you grasp an obvious point from God’s Word. BUT whatever you do, never doubt the clearly revealed truth of the Bible.
Much of the responsibility belongs to those who have been gifted with a spoken ministry. We must count our privilege to speak as a high and holy opportunity. But, there’s no need to be so serious-minded that you become a total bore. God has already filtered your personality into His grand design to bless others.
Preachers, teachers, and speakers for Christ, for content’s sake, I recommend that you be brief, be bold, and be balanced. For delivery’s sake, I suggest that you start slow, build high, burn hot, and bring it home.
Listeners beware. Those of us with a spoken ministry are fallible servants of an infallible God. If you are an intentional listener, you know this. The sermons you hear sometimes fall short. Nevertheless…
Surely you can find at least one redeeming quality from every sermon you hear.Tweet
God’s desire is for you to WIN with every sermon you hear. But please don’t forget that you also have a responsibility to hear from God for yourself. You are called to be a learner of God’s Word. Continue in the Word, that’s what disciples do.