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How to Listen to a Sermon

posted May 5, 2015, 1:11 PM by First Baptist


On my way home from Minnesota two weekends ago, I stopped in Owatonna (where Sally & I used to live) and had coffee with my former pastor, Steve Anderson.


Pastor Steve was my pastor for 18 years (from 1980-1998) and we had a close relationship. He retired some years ago, but continues to preach on occasion.


We again laughed at how we met. I had accepted Christ late one evening (well after midnight) and I wanted to tell somebody, so I picked his name out of the phone book and woke him up.


As we departed, I thanked him again for how he influenced my life, especially through his preaching. I estimate that, over 18 years, I listened to at least 600 of his sermons.


I used to walk by the church late Saturday evening (9 or 10 PM) and the light in his office was usually on. He was there putting the finishing touches on his sermon for the next day. Seeing the light on reminded me to pray for him and for the proclamation of the Word the next day. In my early Christian years, I didn’t enjoy singing much (I do now), but I always loved listening to sermons.


A recent article by Derek Brown, a theology professor at Southern Baptist Seminary, caught my attention. It’s entitled “How to Listen to a Sermon.” I thought it worth passing along to you.


Professor Brown says we should listen to sermons in two phases.


In the first phase, we should listen attentively & expectantly. The preacher may not be exceptionally eloquent or captivating, and he may not say everything correctly or clearly, but if he is speaking from the Bible, we can get something from what he says.


In the second phrase, usually after the sermon is over, we should carefully reflect on the content of the message and its application to our lives. By constantly and proactively searching for ways to apply sermons to our lives, we keep our hearts soft to the truth.


To be completely honest, I don’t remember many of Pastor Steve’s sermons, but nor do I remember many of the meals my mom prepared for me over the 18 years I lived with her. And yet, in both cases, I was nourished by their efforts. Without Mom’s cooking, I would have been sick physically; without Pastor Steve’s preaching, I would have been sick spiritually.



Pastor Dan