7 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Sermon

Preachers spend hours getting ready for Sunday. Here are a few things you can do to prepare as well:

  1. Read ahead – Typically I preaching through books of the Bible. So there is little doubt as to where I will be preaching on the next Sunday. Acquaint yourself with the text. It is a good idea to read the entire book through a few times before we begin to preach through it. You will recognize the flow of thought, logic, gospel emphasis and metaphors that run through the entire text. Other preachers will preach thematically or topically. Most have no problem with you asking where they are going so that you can better prepare.
  2. Sleep well – Make sure you are well rested and alert on Sunday morning. Get a good nights sleep on Saturday night. Have a cup of coffee when you get to church. Make every effort to insure that your mind is ready to deal with a 2000 year old text.
  3. Don’t take notes – One of the things that the puritans were known for was forbidding their congregation from note taking. They believed that because the word of God was living and active that God was doing a work as the text was being preached. Try it, sit down the paper and pen, then listen with your mind and your heart. Keep in mind this sermon will be available on the podcast in a couple of days you can take notes then.
  4. Affirm – I have to confess, I like a good “Amen” I don’t know a preacher who doesn’t. It’s a biblical practice of affirming truth. Head nods are good, but amens are better. Try it.
  5. Spiritually Prepare – Spend some time in bible reading, confession, singing prior to hearing the sermon. Preach the Gospel to yourself before your Pastor does. It plows the heart for the seed of the Word.
  6. Reteach – Get in the habit of discussing the truth with your spouse, children, small group, even lost friends. Every truth is Gospel truth and can lead them closer to Christ. It’s also a good idea to communicate the truths you capture on social media. I have no problem with people tweeting during the service so long as they tweet truth.
  7. Spit out the bones – Remember, only the text in infallible – the sermon is not. Chew the meat, spit out the bones. Check everything by scripture. There are times when we  as preachers will make comments off the cuff that we would LOVE to take back. There are illustrations and jokes that are unprofitable. If you want to get the most out of a sermon don’t stumble over the bones.