Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How to avoid crap sermons

Last night i read a really good chapter in a book which made me think about the title of this post. In this case, it's not about giving crap sermons, but hearing them.

For me it's not to hard to drift out in sermons. If i think i know where the speaker is going, then i may tune out. If the delivery isn't on song, then i may tune out. If the possum wanders overhead, then I'll definitely tune out. As you can tell, my standards can be pretty demanding...

The chapter in the book was about listening and it had ten points.

1- Listen with a head-heart connection. Listen beyond the facts that are being presented. Listen for the deeper connection.

2- Listen with the intent of understanding. Listen with the desire to know what the speaker is trying to say. Aim to walk away knowing the main point and how it effects you.

3- Listen to the message and the message behind the message. Similar to the point above, but be aware of other messages that are intertwined. Feel for the reason why the speaker is giving these particular points. Is there an underlying problem that is trying to be addressed?

4- Listen for both content and feeling. Be attuned to the passion that is behind the message. Why are they passionate about it? Are you?

5- Listen with you eyes. What are they saying with their gestures? Do the pictures in the PowerPoint connect with the message?

6- Listen for other's interest, not just their position. I don't do this. If it doesn't connect with me, then I'll zone out. Instead, listen with the perspective of others, or at least reach to connect with the audience the speaker is attempting to target. It may not directly effect you, but it may one day. I'm not a single mother today, but who knows what the future holds?

7- Listen for the things they are saying and not saying. Does the speaker omit anything? Why? Remember, the aim isn't to download every facet of info from their research into your head. Thus, why did they leave the stuff they say in?

8- Listen with empathy and acceptance. Aim to identify with what the speaker is saying.

9- Listen for the areas where they are afraid of hurt. Listen for the areas where the sermon has touched their own life.

10- Listen as you would like to be listened to.

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