Questions for sermon hearers
* What do I bring to the hearing of the sermon — expectations, distractions, emotional mindset, preparation?
* What do I hear as the message of the sermon?
* What is the sermon calling me to do? What's my response to the message?
* Does the preacher have personal conviction about the sermon? Do the words and delivery support each other?
* Are there images to go along with the ideas, or is the language general and abstract? Does the preacher engage my imagination? Do I feel as though I have been treated as passive audience or as active listener?
It's about the hearer. That's what I tell my preaching classes. Preachers should always begin by considering their hearers. Without this there can be no powerful preaching.
This is contrary to what most of us were taught. Yet it is how the rest of our communication works: We decide what to communicate and how to do it based on who the listener or reader is.
In fact listening is the preacher's most important activity. They do best by following a sequence of listening--to the hearer, to God's word as a living word and finally to the text from which the sermon will be preached.
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