This past Sunday I got to be in the pew for a change. I see a lot of people being passive in worship. Here are 6 strategies I use when I am priviledged to be in the pews to insure that I am responsive to what is preached.
- BYOB. Bring your own Bible. Follow the readings and when appropriate underline, mark or otherwise annotate the text. If you read the Bible with a pencil in hand you will pay more attention to the text.
- Take Note. Bring a pad or scribble on your bulletin the thought flow of the sermon. This past Sunday when I was in worship I made a mind map of the sermon on the back of my bulletin. Mind mapping is a graphical method for taking notes.
- Rehearse your notes. I study my notes in down moments in the service. Specifically, I repeatedly try to recall the order of the sermon, until I can reconstruct it completely without looking at my notes. This usually takes just a few minutes. At first it may be difficult for you, but with practice you can learn to reconstruct sermons, lectures, and conversations with an amazing degree of accuracy. It’s a skill set and just takes practice.
- Set Goals. Determine how you are going to apply the sermon before you leave worship. For example, Sunday’s sermon was about the Good Samaritan story. The preacher mentioned three reasons the priest may have passed by the man who was beaten and robbed. He mentioned, 1) feeling the situation was too far gone. 2) pressure to do other things and not having time 3) fear of being harmed. I took time before leaving worship to identify ways I am failing to do the right thing because hopelessness, pressure and fear. I set goals for addressing them before I left worship.
- Review it in the evening. I took time afterwards to review and journal on what I had learned and how I intended to respond in the evning before I went to bed.
- Discuss it with others. I often ask my kids about sermons after worship. I do this for two reasons. One, to process itmore myself. Two to train them to be actively engaged with the sermon.
In short, when you are in worship don’t be passive about the Word. Your pastor has diligently prayed, studied and prepared. God is very likely speaking through that pastor. You should do everything you can do to capture what is being said. Apply it and live into it.
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