“So what is the right way to listen to a sermon? With a soul that is prepared, a mind that is alert, a Bible that is open, a heart that is receptive, and a life that is ready to spring into action.” - Phil Ryken
Over the past few years, Missio Dei Church has provided study guides for Acts, Nehemiah, and Revelation (chapters 1-5). The Elders decided that going through Sunday’s sermon as a Missional Community would best for the church as well as our Missional Communities. Pastor Paul Vroom spends hours upon hours doing research while writing and rewriting his sermon week in and week out. We wanted our people try and get the most they could out of the sermon. These study guides worked for a while. They were a great tool and served their purpose.
However, these study guides took a lot of time to create (content, design, printing, folding, etc…). These study guides, especially Acts, were produced far in advance as they had to be “produced” in booklet form which meant that the content needed to be written ahead of time. That meant that Pastor Paul was writing content about sections of Scripture in which he was not entirely sure where he was going to be going with that particular sermon.
As we were gearing up for our Exodus series, we began to see our study guides as a type of a “crutch”. They were helping people think through a sermon after it was taught, but people were still able to “go through the motions” of listening to a sermon and simply reading aloud the study guide questions within a Missional Community. Pastor Paul and I realized that what we really needed to do was teach people how to listen to a sermon.
Instead of cranking out study guide after study guide, I decided that I would take the time to write a booklet that would help the church listen to sermons more effectively. This booklet is a reflection on some of the practices I take in preparing for a sermon and what I do during a Sunday morning as well as talking to other members of our church. I also used books like “What is a Healthy Church Member” by Thabiti Anyabwile and “Listen Up!” by Christopher Ash.
This will not be an exhaustive resource on listening to a sermon nor does it plummet the depths on why we all struggle to listen to a sermon. However, my prayer is that this booklet will give you some tools, skills, and ideas to best hear from the Word of God on a Sunday morning. We want you to not just be informed by the Word, we want you to be transformed by the Word of God. This all starts with careful listening.
Together for the Gospel,
Pastoral Assistant to Missio Dei Church