Last night, I found where I had taken notes at the ABSC Pastor's Conference last year. If I'm discerning chicken-scratch, my native written language, correctly, they are the notes I took during Scott Maze's sermon. (It's entirely possible I've got the name wrong)
Since it was a Pastor's Conference, naturally the sermon is slightly directed toward the duties and work of pastors. Preaching, especially, is the focus of this sermon. I won't trouble you with all of what I wrote down. Here were some of the things I wrote:
The sermon was from Malachi 2. It's the chapter before the chapter where 90% of tithing sermons come from. Yes, there's more good stuff in Malachi.
First thing I wrote down: "God's evaluation of us will not involve consulting the deacons." On reflection, it won't involve consulting anyone.
Next thing: "Do we communicate more about our other pursuits than our God?" When preaching, teaching, doing much of anything: am I more certain that people hear about God or about football, hunting, cooking, whatever my choice of illustration is?
Something I starred: "Do not outsource the spiritual training of your children." That's a big deal. We cannot put it off on others to raise our families to walk after the Lord.
Finally, a quote from Martin Luther: "Always preach in such a way that if the people do not hate their sin they will hate you."
This is why taking notes during sermons is important….you never know when you might need the reminders!!
How do you take sermon notes? Well, some preachers are easier to note than others. Some even hand out pre-printed outlines or use bullet points on video projectors. Others at least highlight their main points. Some of us, though, are too chaotic in our style.
What are the main things to use in note taking?
First, write down the Scripture passage. Second, if there is a short "this sermon is about___________," write that down! This sermon was about Intensity. A quick note of where and when, and if it's a special occasion won't hurt your remembrance.
Second, write down short reminders of what stands out. If the preacher isolates a point, jot it down.
Finally, notate what thoughts come to mind during the sermon. It may be questions, thoughts, or actions. Don't chase the rabbits too much during the sermon, but write it down.
A last note: don't misplace the notes! A good thought is to use a notebook that you carry with you for the purpose, and then go back and review those notes.
It really will help with retention and attention, and since we're talking about life-changing truth, isn't it good to retain it?