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Let’s face it—sometimes your family doesn’t get much out of the Sunday sermon. But with a little work, dads can greatly improve the family’s listening experience.
Get more sleep. The Sunday service is not for sleeping; the night before is. This requires planning, especially for young people, who like to use Saturday night as an opportunity to stay up as late as possible.
Sit closer. Almost without exception, the best listeners are in front. There are some valid reasons to be in the back, but it will usually impede your listening.
Look at the speaker. Even younger children can be taught to listen with their eyes.
Minimize distractions. If you must, find a better place to sit. If your children are the problem, “divide and conquer” by asking a relative or friend to sit with you. And don’t permit the Sunday shuffle to the restroom.
Use your Bibles. It is difficult to follow the pastor’s line of thought without seeing the Bible text before you. Teach the family to read it, underline it, and insert marginal comments.
Take notes. Your family’s notes may be imperfect, but they help the sluggish mind. Your younger children can draw what they hear.
Ask questions. With your children at your side, go up to the pastor for clarity. “Pastor, I did not understand the meaning of ‘sanctification.’ Would you help me understand?”
Talk it over. While sitting around the dinner table, just before Sunday dessert, briefly summarize the message and enthusiastically apply it to the family. The child who is the most engaged gets extra dessert. You might even have the children bring their notes to the table for the discussion.
Dad, you must do all you can to keep your family listening. Years of the “wandering mind syndrome” will leave you and your family spiritually destitute.
Jesus said, “Take heed how you hear. For whoever has [understanding], to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him” (Luke 8:18, NKJV).
When it comes to Sunday sermons, no one is too young for hearing aids. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9, NKJV).