Every sermon is an opportunity to learn and grow. Unfortunately, most people do not avail themselves of this opportunity. You can be the exception by exercising a few simple steps of intentional listening and application.
While the sermon is delivered…
Step 1: Bring a Bible.
When I say bring a Bible, I mean an honest to goodness old fashion paper and print bible. Not a Bible on your phone, iPad, or other electronic device. Why paper? Research has shown that when you study from a printed resource you have great retention. Plus, you’re going to need it for the next step.
Step 2: Follow the readings.
As the passage is being read, following along in your Bible. Reading while listening will again assist in recall.
Step 3: Mark key words, phrases, or parts of the passage that grab your attention.
Marking while listening will sharpen your focus and recall.
Step 4: Take additional notes.
Don’t just write in your bible, actually take notes. This will engage your attention, and solidify your memory of the sermon.
When the sermon is over…
Step 5: Reconstruct as much of the sermon as you can from memory.
Without looking at your notes try to recall as much of the sermon as you can, as soon as possible. If you go out to dinner with your family this is a great family exercise. Treat it like a game. Ask your family, “What do you remember from today’s sermon?” Odds are you’ll all remember a couple of highlights and each of you will remember something others forgot. This will also train your children to be more attentive.
Step 6:Set an application goal
God wants us to be doers, not just hearers of his Holy Word. What is some way you can apply the sermon? Or, what’s something you would like to study and know more about after hearing the sermon? If you aren’t use to setting application goals, then download the free resource below to help you.
Step 7: Share the sermon
You can either discuss the sermon with someone who was there or share the sermon with someone who wasn’t. This exercise of sharing will reinforce your memory of the sermon and the discussion will likely yield further learning. Also, when you share a sermon you are helping spread the gospel. You never know how God might use those conversations to touch someone else’s life.
Step 8: Review.
Take a peak back at your notes later in the week to refresh your memory and help anchor the lessons learned in your long-term memory. Reviewing will also help you stay true to your goals.
Worship is perhaps the most important hour you will have during the week. Make the most of this time and give God your very best with these simple eight suggestions.
Want help with applying the Bible to your daily life?
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Get your free Spiritual Goals Template
I’ve got a fill in the blank easy template you can use with every sermon or during your devotional reading time to capture the application of what you learn. The sheet is design to help you set your goals in a way that increases your chance for success.
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(This post is revised and updated from a post originally published July 31, 2010)