Are you getting the most out of your pastor’s sermons each week?
Think back over the last five or so sermons you’ve listened to. Can you remember what they were about? What applications did you take away and actually implement in your own life?
I’ve sat under countless sermons over the last three decades. Like most of you, I attend church regularly each week at my local church. And like you, I have a pastor who shows up week-in and week-out prepared to teach from God’s word.
But do you ever find yourself …
- fighting to stay awake during a sermon?
- thinking about your to-do list or what you’re going to have for lunch?
- picking apart the message being taught?
- making judgments toward your pastor and his preaching style?
- forgetting what the message is about before you ever make it home?
Taking time out of our busy schedules to head to church each week can be hard. It can be hard for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is just not feeling like you’re getting anything out of the sermon.
For most churches, the sermon is the bulk of the service. How can we get more out of our pastor’s sermons each week?
8 Ways to Get More Out of Your Pastor’s Sermon
Before the Service:
Read the text your pastor will teach on
I suggest reading the text through at least three times before arriving at church on Sunday morning.
If this isn’t available in your church bulletin or on the website, just email your pastor and ask him what text he will be teaching on this week. Ask him to make it available each week via the church bulletin, website, or even announced at the end of his sermon each week so you can study beforehand.
Study the text for yourself
In addition to simply reading through the text at least three times, look up the cross references in your Bible for the various verses covered. Consider for yourself what the text is saying. Write down any questions you have about the text as you read.
Pray for your pastor and his sermon preparation
The teaching and preaching of God’s word is no small task. Our pastors will be judged with greater strictness (ref. James 3).
Not to mention, our pastors come under spiritual attack frequently. They need our prayers and we need them to teach the text accurately.
So, pray for your pastor – specifically for his sermon preparation and teaching time.
Pray before you enter the service
Pray and ask God to open your heart and mind to what He has for you this week. Pray as you study the text for yourself. Pray as you head to service. Pray as you enter the service.
The teaching and preaching of God’s word is an invaluable gift. Don’t waste this opportunity and freedom because you’re distracted by less important things.
During the Service
Take your Bible with you to church
Don’t just rely on the pastor putting the text on a projector screen or the church Bibles lining the pews to guide you through the teaching text. Take your own Bible with you.
There is nothing like reading a text together with the congregation from your own Bible. Not to mention, having your own physical Bible will allow you to look up other texts as your pastor is teaching that the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
Be a participant in the service. Engage your mind and busy your hands during the service. Taking notes is a great way to ensure that you’re staying alert and awake. Taking notes helps you to keep your mind focused on what your pastor is teaching and you’ll be less likely to let your mind wander to lunch plans and to-do lists.
I tend to draw pictures and doodle during the service. I like illustrating my notes because it engages my mind further. So, don’t think your note taking has to be boring. I even bring a bag of colored pencils to highlight texts on my journal pages that I want to stand out.
After the Service:
Review your sermon notes
Dive further into your study of the text after the service is over.
On Monday morning (or during your next quiet time with the Lord), review the sermon notes. Look over the questions you had before going into service. Take note of any questions you still have and consider setting a time to discuss your questions with your pastor or some other trusted teacher of God’s word.
Talking with a mentor or small group would be good too!
Do something with the text
Whatever you do, do something with the text. Let God’s word and the teaching He has sovereignly placed in your life change you! Be a doer of God’s word.
Get to know your pastor
My pastor spends countless hours in prayer, research, study, conversation, and more prayer preparing his sermons each week. I know this because my husband and I have had several conversations with him (and his wife), and we trust their hearts for the Lord.
We trust our pastor to lead us, to guide us, and to teach us God’s word as faithfully as he can by the grace of God. We trust that he’s not acting in his own strength with his own agenda. We trust him because we’ve taken the time to get to know him.
Invite your pastor and his family over for dinner. Meet him for coffee. Or just email him and ask him how you can be praying for him.
Do something to get to know your pastor. You’re less likely to fall asleep when you’re in a friend’s company. You’re less likely to seem disinterested when your friend is sharing Jesus with you. We engage more with the sermon when the teacher is also our friend and co-laborer in the Lord.
What would you add to this list of tips to getting the most out of your pastor’s sermon each week? What do you think about taking more time to prep for your pastor’s sermon? Share in the comments! I would love to hear from you!
By the way, you might be interested in my FREE mini-eCourse, 4 Lies We Believe that Keep Us from Changing. It’s a 4-day eCourse that will help you uncover some of the lies you’ve been believing that have kept you from growing in your walk with the Lord.