I’m writing my Ministry Project Report for the Doctor of Ministry program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In the process of doing research for the report, I came across Thadeus L. Bergmeier’s book, Helping Johnny Listen: Taking Full Advantage of the Sermons We Hear. This book offers great tips that help people come prepared to hear preaching.
Here is a summary of the points in this portion of the book:
To prepare physically:
1. Come Rested – So many people race into church exhausted. Sitting still for the 30-40 minute sermon can be quite challenging when a person is not rested. (Although it is quite entertaining from the platform to watch)
2. Come Filled – Eat something before church! The enemy will distract you with hunger. Come filled and ready to concentrate because God is speaking.
3. Come Healthy – Avoid situations and things that are going to produce illness that will keep you from coming to church and being under the preaching of God’s word.
4. Come Focused – It is very easy to become so engaged in other things rather than the sermon being preached. When the sermon begins, lock in on it and tune out all other things.
5. Come Regularly – Church should not be an option for the person who claims the name of Jesus.
6. Come Thoughtfully – come prepared to read the Bible and take notes. Bring a copy of God’s Word that you can mark in it all that God is speaking to you.
To prepare spiritually:
1. Come Hungry – Yes, be filled with physical food, but we should come anticipating and hungry for spiritual food.
2. Come Worshipping – Worshipping God is not a light switch. It is not something that can be turned on at the right time. It is a lifestyle. We cultivate it all day, every day.
A.W. Tozer – “If you cannot worship the Lord in the midst of your responsibilities on Monday, it is not very likely that you were worshiping on Sunday!”
3. Come Praying – Pray for the service, the preacher and the sermon.
4. Come Expecting – We should expect God to move in our hearts and in our church. Could the reason sermons have had so little impact be because we did not expect to get anything from them while they were being preached?
5. Come Forgiving – We must forgive others because we have been forgiven so much.