Sometimes it’s not just them – it’s us. As consumers we are instinctively expecting to be entertained, and often that shows in our approach to engaging with the preached/taught Word of God during our gatherings. Sometimes it’s the fault of the one standing in front of us but often it is a failure to prepare ourselves properly. I struggle with distraction and boredom just like everyone else – if not more. But I have learned, by grace and over time, to use some tools that can help my attention and enhance the reception of what is being communicated. Our personalities would create a very different experience and you need to learn to figure out your own tricks and tips. Nevertheless, these suggestions might help you too.
- Pray for yourself through the week – that God would make you spiritually hungry, receptive and attentive.
- Pray for the speaker – that God would speak to them and enable them to communicate with clarity, compassion and courage.
- If you have the bookmarks with the series – read the passage beforehand and meditate on it.
- Attempt to do discipline yourself to come in the best possible shape mentally, ready to hear and engage with God’s word.
- Participate fully in the prayers and singing in the rest of the service – as that can provide a healthy foundation for a grateful and hungry heart – ready to receive God’s word.
- Bring a Bible, better not use a smartphone, keeping distractions at bay. Unless you’re Jedi-like in your ability to resist checking other stuff.
- Bring a Notepad and a Pen.
- Write the main points down.
- Write some questions/issues that you need to work through.
- Write what was the ‘one thing’ for you to take away and apply.
- As the service has finished, don’t rush, ask the Holy Spirit to seal and bring forth fruit from that message.
- While ‘doing life together’ is important – don’t be swamped by just talking about trivialities afterwards – ask each other what God spoke to us about.
- If the message ‘hit home’ – get a coffee/send an email and explain to the speaker how this was relevant to you.
- Talk in the car and over lunch with family (if you can) about what you have learned.
- Take some time mid-week to review and simplify what God spoke to you through the message.
- Take your questions and observations to the LIFE Group – that’s your spiritual contribution to the spiritual Jacob’s Join.
- Figure out ways to encourage others by passing on what you have heard God speak to you either personally or by forwarding the podcast