Let’s face it – not every Pastor is a C.H. Spurgeon; that’s why they called him the “Prince of Preachers”. No, unfortunately, it takes effort to listen to some Pastors.
Here’s 10 hints to improve your Pastor’s preaching.
HINT #I –Take your Bible to church and follow along whilst it is being read and referenced by the Pastor. This is what the Bereans did in Acts 17:11.
HINT #II – Take a notebook to church and take notes as the Pastor preaches. Write down his main points with Scripture references. Write down the phrases he uses that you think are memorable, or touch your heart. This is worship. Remember, the reason for gathering together in our church services each week is to worship God. Preaching and listening to the message is perhaps the most important part of worship.
HINT #III – Get to bed at a reasonable time the night before your church service. If you have had too little sleep the night before, it’s very difficult to concentrate on the sermon. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to avoid dozing and your Pastor will not need to preach a sermon that would raise the dead.
HINT #IV – Get up in sufficient time to avoid that last-minute hectic rush. A refreshing shower and a good breakfast do wonders to ones ability to concentrate. Prepare the necessary breakfast items the night before to avoid missing out on a nutritious breakfast. After a good night’s sleep, your metabolism needs the kick-start of a healthy breakfast.
HINT #VI – When your Pastor was called to your church, everyone was enthusiastic and much was said about his gifts and preaching skills. Likely, you were one who thought his preaching was just what was needed. Remind yourself about this – what were the aspects of his preaching that you appreciated? Pick out just one positive attribute and reflect on how this is part of his weekly message. Listen with a positive attitude; it will do wonders for a sermon. A negative attitude will torpedo the best sermon before it even gets started.
HINT #VII – Tell your Pastor about a specific sermon point that blessed you. It’s traditional to make a comment to the Pastor after the service, but why not send him an email during the week, or better still, give him a ring to let him know how much you appreciated his sermon? Again, be specific. Tell him what aspect of his message met your need.
HINT# VIII – After the sermon – perhaps during the afternoon when you are home – review the notes taken during the message and elaborate on them, write these down as you recall additional aspects of the message. It will help if you look up the Scripture references. This reinforces the teaching and helps you to permanently remember the message God laid on your Pastor’s heart to preach.
HINT #IX – During the following week, be alert for practical ways in which the sermon applies. You will have experienced this in other aspects of your life. You buy a new car and suddenly, you notice every third car is the same as yours. It’s the same here – make the points of your Pastors message at home in your thoughts and inevitably you ‘chance’ across events during the week that provide you opportunity to apply the lessons taught.
HINT #X – Pray for your Pastor. Pray during the week as he prepares the next message; pray that he will be free from the mundane distractions that would interrupt his preparation, pray that God will empower him as he preaches. And finally, pray that God will prepare your heart to receive the message God has given him. Think about it – its less likely you will have a critical attitude concerning your pastor’s preaching if you are praying for him during the week.
You will be surprised just how much your Pastor’s preaching will improve.
Can you add to this list? I would love to hear your suggestions.
“We complain today that ministers do not know how to preach; but is it not equally true that our congregations do not know how to hear?” (Packer, A Quest For Godliness. p254)
Soli deo gloria
Don, I think these are good tips, and will go a long way to improving the reception and assimilation of messages.
Above all this I think it is important to realise that we are not attending a lecture. We are attending the earthly gathering of God’s holy people in his presence. If we all shared that reality, there would be little room for armchair critics as we enter His presence together. It is heaven on earth, and if we are honest we are far far from that.
For the good of our souls and the church we must be engaged with His Word, with His people and with God himself. Ultimately, nothing else matters, but in present ‘church’ circles it appears that this is a long way from where we are.
(1 John 1:5)