What are the benefits to listening to five sermons a week?
While reading John Maxwell’s book The15 invaluable laws of Growth, I was intrigued by his statement that while he was young preacher for his denomination, he would listen to five sermons a week. Five sermons a week? FIVE?!? It seemed like an incredible amount. I suppose it might have been Seven a week if you include the two that he presented on Sunday. (At least I hope all preachers listen to their own sermon too!)
Thing is, that was like 30 years ago and for those of you who are not yet 30, there was no iPod to listen to. He would have had to listen on cassette tape! That is a lot of tapes and bulky too. Today, of course, we have access to hundreds and even thousands of downloadable audio files.
There are many reasons why a person might add sermons to their phones and mp3 devices, but if you haven’t been doing it, it may simply be because no one ever suggested it. So let me suggest that you do. Here are some of the benefits of downloading and listening to 5 sermons a week.
1. You get to hear different perspectives. We all know our own preacher’s style and we can sometimes even come to know his illustrations, questions, and jokes so well, we expect them. This isn’t to say that the preacher is stale or boring but when you listen to another expound on God’s word, even the same passage, it can be like listening to it for the first time!
2. It is a good resource for stirring up your own thoughts. As you listen to a sermon, if you are truly trying to gain wisdom and insight into God’s will, you will find yourself thinking “That’s a good point” or “That is something that can help me in this area of life” or “i never knew that, WOW! That makes this parable more meaningful”. And when those thoughts stick with you or help you improve your life in some way, the benefit is very long lasting.
3. For preacher’s it can be an invaluable tool of learning from others. No preacher would ever think he knows it all, but how many think they have to DO it ALL on their own? That is a fallacy. Listening to fellow Christians teach is a way for teachers to sharpen their skills and increase their knowledge. They may even pick up a style, delivery technique, or a new illustration (see point 1).
4. It helps keep the world out of your head. That is always a good thing. Let’s face it, if you don’t spend 30 to 40 minutes listening to a sermon as you drive along, exercise, or relax, what will you listen too? Something from the world? Will you watch a TV show that is mindless and has no value (at best) or one that is full of worldly morals and standards (at worst)? Reading God’s word, listening to God’s word preached, hearing the reading of the Scriptures as you go through your day will help keep you more focused on what is important, truly important.
When Paul said in Phil 4 to think on the things that are true, honorable, just, pure, of good report, etc, I think that God’s word would be one of those things. David said that he hid God’s word in his heart so that he would not sin against God. Jesus said “Pay attention to what you hear” and one way to do that is to pay attention to what you allow yourself to listen to.
5. You can grow in an area that you have a need to grow in. All the podcasts I know of use titles, so search for a topic or passage you want to or need to know about. So look for lessons in areas that you already know you need to learn about. Do you want to learn more about Sin and how to Overcome it? Maybe my lesson here will help. Do you want to develop more humility? Click here to listen to Jason, as he fills in for the regular preacher of a local congregation, share his study with you. Want to develop a more evangelistic mindset? I challenge you to not be challenged by this lesson.
Now you can find these anywhere, many congregations will publish them, the only thing you need to do is go look for them and subscribe to the podcast. It is more convenient than ever to find God’s word published in print, audio, or even audio/visual.
One word of caution, however, NEVER take a sermon preached by a man and elevate it to the level of God’s word. Men are fallible, God is not. Take note of Acts 17:11 where the Bereans (see verse 10), listened to what Paul said and yet they still searched the Scriptures to verify his claims and HE was an apostle of God. Preachers today are not so it is more imperative to search the scriptures for yourself. Listen but verify and you will find yourself growing in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord.
Question: What are other benefits you might receive from listening to more sermons?