Listener's Dare

Hearing God in the Sermon

Book - Paperback
Listener's Dare
Paperback ISBN: 9781791023980
$16.99 Show Buy

Published April 2022

Discipleship and witness are not self-sustainable. Preaching equips God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11).

Discipleship and witness are not self-sustainable. Preaching equips God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11).

The story of Moses and the talking bush is a story of anybody who dares to listen, and in listening, hears, and after hearing steps forth (albeit kicking and screaming in Moses’s case), serving God on the basis of what has been heard. Daring divine speaking and intrepid human listening are at the heart of the faith of Israel and the church.

“Reveal yourself!” we cry to God down through the ages. God spoke Jesus, The Word tenting among us (John 1:1). And what’s Jesus’s main occupation? Jesus came preaching (Mark 1:14).

The gospel is news that passes from the lips of one who has heard to the ears of one who has not yet heard, then (God willing) burrows in the soul, energizing the hands in daring response to a word received. Preaching is instigated by an astounding claim: Good news; God has spoken to us. The Christian life is what you get when ordinary folk respond: I have heard.

The book is for anyone who listens to sermons--which includes preachers, since there’s no way to preach without gaining skills as a listener. Listening is a human skill, but as God’s word is proclaimed the hearer experiences a vocal mix of preacher, listener, and God.

Listener’s Dare shares a love of preaching and also lets listeners into some of the secrets of why preaching is inherently connected to the Christian faith as one way God has chosen to relate to us and to disclose God’s will for each of us. Settings for use include college, course of study, and seminary preaching classes, a pastor’s Bible study, an inquirer’s class led by a pastor, and inquisitive individuals who yearn to get something out of the sermon.

Preachers profit from the book by becoming more astute listeners to preaching, and listeners would be able to increase their ability to “get something out of” sermons or examine their distractions that block this vital means of grace through worship together. Bits and pieces of biblical sermon events as well as contemporary sermons are used for illustrative purposes.

About the Author

William H. Willimon

Will Willimon is a preacher and teacher of preachers. He is a United Methodist bishop (retired) and serves as Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. For twenty years he was Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. A 1996 Baylor University study named him among the Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English speaking world. The Pew Research Center found that Will was one of the most widely read authors among Protestant clergy in 2005. His quarterly Pulpit Resource is used by thousands of pastors throughout North America, Canada, and Australia. In 2021 he gave the prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale Divinity School. Those lectures became the book, Preachers Dare: Speaking for God which is the inspiration for his ninetieth book, Listeners Dare: Hearing God in the Sermon.