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2 The sermon as a learning event

We have looked at two of the specific ‘components’ of the learning process, listening and remembering. We have seen that listening is an active process; it requires a decision to pay attention to some new information or situation, whether conveyed by the written or the spoken word. Because listening is an active process, we have seen that it is also selective: congregations need to make a decision to ‘make room’ for the preacher’s message before they will hear anything at all. There are a number of barriers that prevent people from listening well. If the message is too complex they may not understand. Perhaps most powerful are the emotional barriers that make people reluctant to hear a particular message. Listening to a sermon begins with a decision to trust the preacher and a disposition to value what he or she has to say…

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