July 30-August 5, 2012
Church Ministry News
Yan-Shuei Church youths learn to take good sermon notes
Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan
Written by Lydia Ma
How do you know whether youths at your church are really listening to the pastor’s sermon during Sunday worship? Well, one church in Chiayi Presbytery managed to nurture attentive youths by encouraging their high school and college youths to take sermon notes. Their note-taking habit has become an inspiration for the rest of the congregation as well.
Rev. Wang Chung-wu gave out prizes to 9 youths who had excellent sermon notes on July 22, 2012 during Sunday worship at Yan Shuei Church. These youths were rewarded for having the best sermon notes for the first half of 2012. Wang said that having youths take sermon notes helped them concentrate during the sermon and stay rooted in their Christian faith. Furthermore, as youths are also required to write a bit of their own reflections on each of these sermons afterward, these notes also help him to know how youths are doing in life and if all things are going well at home. It is also one of the means for the church to deal with problems youths face in their lives early on.
Wang began to encourage youths to take sermon notes about 3 years ago and added that he would personally read these notes and provide feedback. He also announced that he would pick 3 youths with the best notes every 6 months and give them awards to encourage them. He noted that many youths in Taiwan skip church services due to heavy course load and homework and many who attend may spend the hour texting messages or playing with their cellphones instead of focusing on worship. This trend in Taiwanese churches prompted him to think of ways to inspire youths to focus and listen to sermons on Sundays.
Wang said that he usually uses PowerPoint slides during his sermons to highlight the key points. For this reason, it is not difficult to write sermon notes. For youths to get good marks, all that is needed is to spend some time thinking and writing reflections on the message. He said that such an exercise also trained youths to think critically. Wang said that one member from his congregation even had a son whose essay writing skills and grades improved after such an exercise every Sunday.
Besides turning in good and sensible sermon notes, some girls at his church will also draw pictures on the side to make their notes more artistic or beautiful. Some of them will also “drop a line” to Rev. Wang using these drawings or side-notes. He remarked that, while correcting these sermon notes one late evening, he stumbled upon one that included the following message to him: “Hey, you seem pretty busy lately, pastor!” This gesture of concern really touched his heart. Wang happily reported that many adults at his church have been influenced by these youths and have also begun to form a habit of taking sermon notes.
Photo provided by Yan-Shuei Church