Listeners Dare

Hearing God in the Sermon

Book - Paperback
Listeners Dare
Paperback ISBN: 9781791023980
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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).

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) it 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 (a companion to Preachers Dare) 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.

Praise for Listeners Dare
“Books about preaching—how to research, write, and deliver sermons—are legion. But books about how sermons are heard, internalized, and acted upon by ordinary Christians in the pews are rare. Willimon addresses this elusive yet critically important task with his usual wit, acumen, and pastor’s heart. A few hours pondering this thought-filled work will pay handsome dividends come Sunday.”
—Grant Wacker, Gilbert T. Rowe Distinguished Professor of Christian History, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC

“There is no shortage of resources out there for how to prepare and preach a sermon, and yet faith comes from hearing. In turning our attention to the homiletical process of listening, Willimon has given clergy and laity alike a true gift. Together, we get to listen for God’s daring Word—a word that in our hearing brings about holy obedience, persistent hope, and daring discipleship.”
—Karoline M. Lewis, Marbury E. Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching, Professor of Biblical Preaching, Luther Seminary; Program Director, Festival of Homiletics

“Listening to a sermon is a spiritual discipline—that is the simple, profound insight that underpins this rich offering from Will Willimon.”
—Lauren F. Winner, Associate Professor, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC


About the Author

Bishop 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.