3 September 2020
When COVID began, I found it more challenging to engage with the sermon. This was by no means a reflection of the quality of preaching at St Michael’s – I think we are incredibly blessed to have such faithful bible teachers who adapted very well to preaching via the Livestream. However, once an avid note-taker, I now found myself distracted without a bulletin to take notes in. I also found that I generally became more relaxed with what I did while listening to the sermon – after all, the preacher (and the congregation members!) can’t see me make a cup of tea while I watch the Livestream. It quickly became clear that I needed to adapt to this new type of church in order to grow. In the following months, I’ve found 3 things particularly helpful:
- A sermon notebook – it can be a simple exercise book, or Matthias Media has an excellent Sermon Notebook with some guided reflection questions such as: I never knew; I was reminded; A biblical truth I could share; A key verse; My prayer response. It also has a review section every six weeks as well as a number of tips on note-taking, memorising Scripture and how to prepare for and listen to a sermon. For me, the sermon notebook has been an excellent way to stay focused during the sermon, to keep track of my notes throughout a sermon series and to reflect more intentionally on the sermon throughout the week.
- Intentional conversations – one of the benefits of online church, particularly at 7pm, was the conversations following the sermon. They were so gospel focused! Before COVID, often my first question after the service was something along the lines of “How was your weekend?”. It was so easy to talk about the trivial things but speaking about the teaching of God’s word sometimes felt awkward. However, after the 7pm sermon on Zoom, people would often ask great questions that really got me thinking more deeply about the sermon. This is something I am keen to keep working on, now that we are meeting in person again. For me, the value of these conversations is in sharing our lives. As I engage in these conversations, I am reminded that the teaching of God’s word is not solely an intellectual activity, but a spiritual one, as the Spirit grows us to be more like Christ. These conversations help me to see the teaching of God’s word in practice.
- Our sermon podcast – particularly through our Job series, it was so helpful to listen back to the sermon later in the week. I often listened to it again while doing other things (cooking dinner, doing the washing, going for a walk, etc.), but I found it helpful to allow it to wash over me again. Often a key application point would stand out in a different way or I would remember how a particular part of the sermon had come to mind during the week.
Perhaps like me, you have found it difficult to engage with the sermon online. There may be many reasons why this is the case, however if this is you, can I encourage you to consider trying one thing that will help you engage with the teaching of God’s word. It is something, personally, that I am keen to keep working on as we seek to grow in Christ and look forward to his glorious return.
(Women’s Ministry Trainee)