- Meditate on the sermon passage during your quiet time.
- Invest in a good set of commentaries (my words- for follow-up study).
- Talk and pray with friends about the sermon after church.
- Listen to and act on the sermon throughout the week.
- Develop the habit of addressing any questions about the text itself.
- Cultivate humility.
I "amen" what Thabiti has shared in his book, but let me add to or put into my own words some tips to more efficiently and effectively listen and process what you hear on Sunday mornings.
- Get the sermon text ahead of time and read through it during the week. I provide a "worship card" which includes the sermon text, title, and a related Old Testament reading, but you could probably call or email your pastor and get that info (at least by Friday). He'd probably be delighted you showed interest which would be an encouragement as he goes into the pulpit.
- Bring your Bible and follow along... highlight, underline, and TAKE NOTES.
- In your notes try to write down the main idea or main point of the passage/ sermon. If the pastor doesn't clearly state it or you miss it, write down what you deduce it is and check with him to make sure you got it right. Also note sub-points that build off or support the main point... these will help with future study and with application.
- Write out questions. In the bulletin I supply "table talk questions" which are simple questions that will help review the message and the passage. My hope is that families or friends will discuss them around the lunch table or in the car on the way home. Try writing out your own questions as the sermon unfolds. Perhaps they will be answered in the sermon or they will be good discussion points later or you can quiz your pastor (I'd be delighted to field questions... just give me some time to breathe after the sermon).
- Go back through the passage of Scripture on your own no later than Monday to make sure it sinks in. Make some bullet points in your mind (helps to write them out) of ways you can apply the Scripture that week.
Rarely in school did I ever master content without listening, taking notes, studying, and being tested. So why do we think we can check our brains at the door, put forth little mental effort, and never revist the content and still be equipped? Thankfully the Holy Spirit has been given to "guide you into all truth" (John 16:13), but let's make every effort to "present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).