Are you a good Listener? If you are like me, it depends on who’s talking, right?
Well, the fact of the matter is, listening is difficult. First, we can think four times faster than most people talk. Therefore, listening requires our brain to slow down and follower the speaker. Second, when listening we have to surrender control and coordinate our mind with the speed of the speaker. No doubt about it, developing good listening skills requires practice.
Listening to sermons well, can require even greater skills and practice. In a recent article Rev. Dr. Howard White, pastor of Carbondale First United Methodist offered a few ideas to improve listening skills to get more out of sermons. Let me share them with you.
- Before the sermon – Prepare ahead of time: read the sermon scripture during the week. It is printed in the newsletter. Pray for the preacher. This not only invites supernatural aid, it creates some ownership of the sermon for you. Get enough sleep Saturday night. Commit to set aside worries and distractions for that hour. Expect to encounter God in worship.
- During the sermon – Take notes. It engages the mind to keep you alert, active, involved, and helps you avoid feelings of drowsiness or distraction. Instead of ruminating over lunch destinations, think about things related to the topic.
- Following the sermon, follow up with a discussion over lunch. Maybe something said that morning would trigger a mealtime conversation. Later on, review your notes and look for a personal application.
Listening is a discipline that requires practice. Attending worship regularly provides opportunity to practice and develop those listening skills. Who knows, improved listening skills may even improve my sermons. I’m sure we would all appreciate that!