Getting the most out of a “sermon”
Let’s get rid of the word “sermon”!
This paints a picture — a picture of a long and often boring discourse!
So … what can we use in its place?
Address? Lecture? Homily? These are the best the Thesaurus provides but none quite do justice to what we’re aiming at. At Main Street Community Church we want this time to be a meaningful, relevant communication from the Word of God. Perhaps the best word is “Message”. We live in a world of messages! E-mail, text, multi-media so why not a message from God!
We believe the Bible is God’s Word, we believe it is relevant to the 21st century and we believe that to hear from God is exciting and encouraging as well as challenging.
Getting the best from a Bible Message
Come with expectation!
If you come thinking that the message time is the time to think through plans for your week ahead or do some people-watching around the congregation, then you won’t get much from it! If you come believing that God can and will speak to you and are ready to listen, then you will benefit.
If there’s a passage set for the week ahead, read it during the previous week at least once, maybe several times. Meditate on its key themes and mentally note any challenges. Current topics and relevant bible passages may be mentioned in earlier Sunday services or in the weekly bulletin
Come ready to concentrate!
O.K. so, realistically, no-one is going to take in the whole message. You are most likely to find one or two key parts each week that speak to you and will be meaningful to you. If there are parts that you don’t understand respond in one of two ways.
- Don’t worry about it — concentrate on the bits you did understand.
- Make a note and ask the speaker afterwards or later to explain what he or she meant.
We’ll never learn if we don’t ask questions!
Bring a notepad, better still have a notebook that you can use each week to record key points and what God said to you either in the service or later.
Come ready to listen!
Hearing is not always the same as listening so at the end of each message there are three questions you could ask yourself:
- What was most important in the message I have listened to?
- What action(s) could I take after hearing this message?
- How am I feeling at the end of this message — try and sum this up in a single word.
Go ready to work!
Don’t just hear the message, take notes and then leave your book until next week! Take time later in the day or in the week following to look at your notes and consider the questions above.
Go ready to ACT!
Messages are there to make you feel something and then to do something. So make sure you plan action as a result of hearing the message.
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly ….” (Colossians 3 v 16)
“Do not merely listen to the word … do what it says” (James 1 v 22)