Listen Up! A Practical Guide to Listening to Sermons by Christopher Ash is a Christian leader’s dream. His simple and practical guidance is geared towards helping the sermon listener shift their focus from “me” to Christ and the church. Plus, Ash enables the reader to examine their own heart and motives underlying their attitudes and thoughts as they approach listening to a sermon. (I listed several quotes from the book on yesterday’s blog post.) An added bonus, are the built in questions at the end of each chapter enabling the reader to rethink and apply the material to their own particular situation.
The 7 concepts listed by Christoper Ash are:
1) Expect God to Speak
2) Admit God Knows Better Than You
3) Check [What] the Preacher Says [With] What the Passage Says
4) Hear the Sermon in Church
5) Be There Week by Week
6) Do What the Bible Says
7) Do What the Bible Says Today – And Rejoice!
Ash gives the final few pages to give advice on “How to listen to bad sermons”. He breaks “bad sermons” down into three categories: dull, biblically inadequate, and heretical. Like the first section of the book, the author does a good job of challenging the listener to not jump to conclusions, examine their own heart, and gives helpful definitions of the terms that he employs.
The biggest problem with the book is that the content is wonderful but many people think the preacher or leader presumptuous to recommend a book on listening to sermons. I would have liked an appendix with some thoughts on how a church leadership team could help their congregation into the contents of the book; whether a willing congregation, cautious congregation, or resistant congregation.
Overall, it is a great book and well worth a read.