Friday, 15 October 2010

Listen Up!

Have you ever thought about what's involved in listening to a sermon? That may sound a bit like a stupid question. Surely all we need to do is to make sure that we're sitting there in front of the preacher and that we don't fall asleep?

The reality is that there is much more involved in listening properly to a sermon than simply sitting there. It is all too easy to hear the word of God preached yet not hear. Too many listen attentively to the Bible taught week by week yet at the same time are not listening. Jesus calls us to "Pay attention to what you hear" (Mark 4:24), yet often we necgect to take time to think about how we listen to a sermon.

Christopher Ash, director of the Cornhill Training Course in London, has written a very helpful little booklet on how to listen to a sermon. LISTEN UP!: A Practical Guide to Listening to Sermons is an excellent resource. In an extremely clear and readable manner, Christopher spells out seven ingredients of healthy sermon listening, then gives some advice on how to deal with bad sermons, before finally challenging us with how we as listeners can encourage the preacher in his ministry.

This is a rescource that every Christian should get their teeth into. Why not buy a few copies (it's not that expensive) and read it together with a couple of others, using the questions at the end of each point to let things sink in a little deeper. May we be those who do not neglect to consider carefully how we listen.