Accepting the Word, part 2

Last post I quoted John Chrysostom, late 4th century pastor and bishop. He made a good observation about the need for the individual to work to apply the Word that is preached to them.

Let's face the fact that the average person-in-the-pew is trained in passivity. Not necessarily by us, but our entertainment culture teaches people to be observers rather than participants. I've blogged about this before in some ways, but I am increasingly feeling the need to help our people understand their role in the preaching/teaching process.

One of the things that I shared with our congregation this morning is that the sermon does not end when they go home. Ideally there ought to be some review time during the week in which they ask themselves some questions:

1. What was the point of the text that Peter preached on?
2. What changes need to take place in my life because of that text?
3. What is my role in bringing about those changes?

This is at least a starting point. I'm going to start putting something like this in our bulletin or at the end of the sermon outline that is in each bulletin so that there is clear communication that once they have received the Word (heard it), they need to accept it (process it). I think that is what Paul was thankful for when he commends the Thessalonian Christians in 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

The reality of our passive-entertainment culture says to me that we need to be regularly helping our people learn to listen and process. Making application of the passage is essential, helping them know how to take it the next step is just as essential.


Dave C. said...

How do you plan to deal with the backlash that calling your people to their responsibilities in Christ will bring?

bumble said...

Dave C.,

Perhaps the question should be "How do you plan to deal with the backlash that God will bring when you are not faithful communicating His word?"

The prophets dealt with that to proclaim God's Word. We must do so too.

Peter Bogert said...

Haven't had a backlash yet, Dave. I rather suspect that people feel helped by knowing how to connect what they hear to their lives.

Hey Bumble!

Milton Stanley said...

Good thoughts, Peter. I'm blogging about it now. Peace.

andy gr said...

This is really helpful. I sometimes do a "consumer's guide to preaching" based on James 1.19-22:
a) BEFORE the sermon, make sure you're not angry or otherwise distracted from the discipline of listening properly; confess to God any sins which the Holy Spirit brings to the surface of your ind during the time of silence.
b) DURING THE SERMON, think of yourself as humble ground, into which the health-giving word is being planted. Yes, having a seed planted in you may hurt. Or, if you prefer, see yourself as Mary, humbly giving your assent to the word spoken that would lead to Christ being formed in you.
c) AFTER the sermon, make sure you know, practically, how to put what you hear into action.

Peter Bogert said...

Great ideas, Andy!! I think a few exhortations like this (for variety) are very helpful if we use them with our people.