Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
– II Timothy 2:15
Be honest with yourself. How many sermons do your remember? How long does it take for you to forget the morning lesson after leaving worship for lunch? The fact is we participate in a largely ineffective learning model during every Sunday sermon. We sit in an audience passively while a person lectures to us for thirty to forty minutes (twenty minutes if I’m doing the preaching).
This culture of delivery isn’t changing any time soon. Jesus lectured. Paul lectured. Even Moses gave a lecture or two. So what can we — the learners — do to get the most out of our weekly lessons?
My solution is a simple one: take notes.
Think about it. We take copious notes from middle school through college. We take notes during meetings at work. We don’t want to lose details or important information that could affect upcoming assessments, exams, projects, deadlines, or evaluations. So we take notes.
This accomplishes two things:
- Notes help you remember. The simple act of writing information down helps make it stick in your mind.
- You have a reference. I have notes from sermons dating back several years. If I’m studying up a topic, I can just search for terms in my directories of notes.
We take notes in classes and meetings because those things are important. How much more important is God’s word? Why would we actively take notes during a chemistry class and then sit passively during a sermon? It makes no sense to put so little effort into learning and retaining lessons form the words of life.
Next time you are sitting at worship, and the minister invites you to take out your Bible to follow along, don’t do it. Instead, grab your notebook, and get writing.