How to Prepare to Hear Sunday’s Sermon

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.

Reflections on a HUGE Sunday

Wow. God was good to Apex Baptist on Sunday. We took some huge risks and invested time, energy and resources to reach out to our community. Sunday was the fall kickoff for our church. All the activities that had stopped for the summer are gearing back up and ready for a great fall semester. We, also, started a new teaching series called, Replenish: Rescue for the Tired Soul. For the last couple weeks, we encouraged our church members to reach out to their friends and neighbors and invite them to be with us on Sunday. We used buzz cards (small invitation cards) to explain all that was going on. Our life group leaders reached out to everyone on their roll and invited them back to church. We mailed a postcard to as many people as we could afford inviting them to church.

Last week, our church prayed and fasted for God to use us in our community. On Wednesday night, we prayed over every room in our church and prayer-walked our campus. I was blown away by the response of people coming out to pray. You could sense God was moving all week long.

When people arrived for worship, we had new signs out directing people where to park. Our church van was utilized to shuttle people from parking lots down the street. Volunteers greeted people in the parking lot and directed traffic. Our guests had reserved parking and were greeted as they arrived to church. The sermon truly started in the parking lot. It was amazing to watch God use so many church members as they served others.

Our preschool ministry workers were hustling all day long. We have so many wonderful families who jumped in a classroom at a moments notice to open a new classroom or offer additional help in overcrowded rooms. I believe the spirit with which our church operated glorified God!

It was fun to watch the worship center fill up. I am glad we had the extra chairs to offer latecomers a place to sit. Most importantly the Spirit of God was moving! We celebrate today, with all of heaven, those who trusted Christ as their Savior. In both services, the alters were full of people crying out to God in repentance. At the end of the day, we added five families into our fellowship.

I’m so thankful to be a part of a church that is serious about making a difference in their community. I hope and pray that this is just the beginning of a wonderful season of reaching out to others who need to find rescue for their tired soul.