Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hear and Do? I Gotta Take Notes!

by Garth Gaddy

If you are like me, you struggle when it comes to remembering the specifics of what is said during a sermon, particularly after a day or so. Left to my brain power alone I will likely remember the topic and scripture reference, but after a day I struggle to recollect the main point and content details. Come Wednesday at GraceGroup, I recall very little without reminders. For that reason, I take notes during our pastors’ sermons.

Our goal is to be hearers and doers of God’s Word (James 1:22-25). To hear and do implies application. This requires knowledge of the passage and message, and subsequent conversion to application. It’s a chain with two links: knowledge and application. We can’t just know and not apply. That would be disobedient to God’s Word. But we also can’t apply unless we know. Note-taking helps to cement the knowledge in our brains. As we hear and write, the teaching takes on not only an aural but also a visual component. It is also a mechanism for review prior to GraceGroups so that we come prepared to share how God’s Word is applicable to us.

Our pastors’ teaching is very note-friendly. They make it easy for us by repetitively giving the main point and list of sub-points at the beginning, sometimes using alliteration. Pastor-given application may be included after each sub-point or all at the end. If you are not accustomed to note-taking and find it difficult, don’t get frustrated. Start slowly, trying to capture the main point, the sub-points and some application. Work up from there to additional content as you get better. Remember, though, to seek the Holy Spirit’s leading in how God’s Word applies to you.

I keep all my notes in spiral notebooks on my bookshelf at home. This adds the side benefit of having an archive. On more than one occasion I have forgotten the details of a sermon that I needed for discussion. At these times, my note archive really comes in handy.

I have found that note-taking is essential for me to be a “doer” of God’s Word, and very likely it is for you too.

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