01 October 2016
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It's a good question, Peter, and one which we should contemplate. I have never been good at sitting listening to someone talk for any more than a few minutes and so I have to really apply myself if I am to keep concentration. Even so, I can still lapse in and out of concentration. Obviously, it depends on what is being said and, if I know that the person preaching hasn't held my attention on previous occasions, I'm more likely to switch off right at the start. Occasionally, I hear them say something of value and zone in again.
I suppose when you have been listening to church sermons all your life, you hear the same things being said time and time again (nothing wrong with that if it's relevant) but it becomes even easier to switch off because of it. It is also the case that if a person has a boring voice, or stutters their way through the sermon, this is not at all easy to listen to, even if what they are saying is if real value.
I guess I tend to listen more when the preacher is someone I already respect, has an interesting demeanour and gets straight to the point, resisting the temptation to keep labouring the point. I'd rather listen to ten minutes of preaching which is relevant and had an obvious message than half an hour of repetitions which lost me within the first few minutes. Subject matter will also make a difference as to how much we concentrate on what's being said. When it is something which is directly relevant to your own life and situation, you tend to pay more attention to it.
I have heard you preach a couple of times Peter and I found you easy to listen to. I hope, like many ministers, you haven't since fallen into the trap of repetition, which is so easy to do but which is a complete turn-off for me. I just loathe little sayings and responses being trotted out week after week. It just seems so dead to me.
Thanks. Do you find power point helpful?
No, in fact I particularly dislike it. I feel I'm back in the classroom again and I didn't like it then either!
Whenever I see power point used, I feel resistant to it. I don't really know why but suspect it is because I feel it is more like a lecture and, if others feel like me, then they are trying to follow it simply so as not to look like they are not participating. I also feel it reduces the atmosphere to a classroom lesson and I never feel the sense of God's spirit like I may do when someone is holding my attention simply by the power God has infused into what they are saying.
Just an 'admin note'. As this discussion will only be seen by site members who are logged on, it will probably only be seen by a very few. (That's no problem to me, but just to let you know.) It's a good discussion topic; and if you want to move it into the 'Open Debates' section I can do that at any time.
Yes please ed.
I recently introduced pp and am getting a lot of positive feedback. I guess it is because some people relate better to images used with words. I have noticed that those who do not like it simply don't look at the screen.
Not possible to please everyone, but I do like to keep things fresh (including my preaching!!).
Does anyone have any tips for better retention of God's word whilst listening sermons, and/or private study?
Using real life stories always helps me to remember. I guess Jesus knew that too!
As one who has sat under many preachers over many years, what tips would you give;
1. To preachers to help their listeners?
2. To fellow listeners?
An Apostle in the Apostolic Church, he was an Orkney Islander, once told me this:
People remember 40% of what they hear, 60% of what they hear and see, and 80% of what they hear, see and do.
He made good use of laughter, where appropriate, because that's something we see, hear and do, and also he would come down among the congregation and evoke responses to questions or statements.
At Easter he stood in front of us, and had us re-enact the role of a Roman soldier hammering nails into the Lord, while he banged a table and cried out at every blow!
Got my attention, even to this day.
Preachers should think what they prepare for their children's address - and give the same to the entire congregation!
Most of us get more from the children's address than we do from the main sermon. Why should this be? Well, the language is simple and direct. There are visual aids when necessary. There is often humour. It is not too long!
It has been said that a good sermon should be like a woman's skirt - long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to remain interesting!
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