Listen up!

A practical guide to listening to sermons

Christopher Ash

In this short and practical guide, Christopher Ash outlines seven ingredients for healthy listening.

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Why on earth does anyone need a guide on how to listen to sermons? Don't we simply need to 'be there' and stay awake? Yet Jesus said: 'Consider carefully how you listen.' The fact is, much more is involved in truly listening to Bible teaching than just sitting and staring at the preacher.

Christopher Ash outlines seven ingredients for healthy listening. He then deals with how to respond to bad sermons - ones that are dull, or inadequate, or heretical. And finally, he challenges us with ideas for helping and encouraging our Bible teachers to give sermons that will really help us to grow as Christians.

• Where does the authority of a Bible teacher come from?
• Why is Bible teaching offensive?
• Why is it important to hear Bible teaching in church?
• How can we actually enjoy Bible teaching more?

These (and more) are the questions answered by this practical guide, which includes effective, hands-on suggestions for implementing each idea. All with the aim of helping us learn how to listen properly, so that through His word, God will make us more and more Christ like.

'We give Listen Up to all our new members' - Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Product details


  • Seven ingredients for healthy sermon listening:
  • 1. Expect God to speak
  • 2. Admit God knows better than you
  • 3. Check the preacher says what the passage says
  • 4. Hear the sermon in church
  • 5. Be there week by week
  • 6. Do what the Bible says
  • 7. Do what the Bible says today - and rejoice!
  • How to listen to bad sermons
  • 7 suggestions for encouraging good preaching


Author Christopher Ash
ISBN 9781906334673
Format Saddle stitch
Dimensions 148mm x 210mm
Pages 32
Publisher The Good Book Company

We give Listen Up to all our new members.

Mark Dever

Sr. Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Provides crucial theology and practical advise about listening that can make the difference between life and death in the church.

R. Kent Hughes

Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton

We just don’t have teaching and training on how to listen to sermons. Christopher Ash shows what a gaping hole that omission leaves.

Rico Tice

All Souls Langham Place, London

Independent reviews

Help for Listening to Sermons

Phil Dunn, Unashamed Workman, August 15th 2009

Here’s a question for you. Think back to church last week. What was the sermon about? Have a think. What passage in the Bible was it from? Do you remember the main points from the sermon? Can you remember any of the applications the preacher made?... continue reading

Ears to hear

Christopher Idle, Evangelicals Now

The content is spot on; the challenge not always comfortable. It includes ‘How to listen to bad sermons’ (and get better ones), but not ‘How to preach to bad listeners’; others may cover that. The preacher who knows his hearers have read this will preach all the better for it.... continue reading

Customer reviews


(Review written for 'Listen Up (ebook)')

I wish I had read this a long time ago! Really helpful and constructive advice for listening to sermons and also encouraging a positive attitude towards the less inspiring sermons that most people hear from time to time.


“A Must Read”

I read this book a few months ago and found it incredibly encouraging as a preacher of God's word. I therefore bought one copy for every member of my congregation as a Christmas hoping that it would lead them to seeking to get the most out of every sermon they hear no matter whether it is good, indifferent or bad. I really hope that through the easy to read, delightful words of Christopher Ash our congregation might grow in their love, understanding and of God's word resulting in a greater love and devotion to the Lord Jesus. A must read for people who glaze over, tune out and switch off the minute a guy with a microphone says could you turn to....


“Listen Up!”

This booklet is so helpful! I have recommended it to my church elders, and friends. Now I wish there was a book which went into more detail, explaining the bits that the author has been too brief with, aimed at the people, like me, with no theological training. I have written out some of the points made and I refer to them when I am listening to sermons and taking notes. Preachers definitely need to read this, and learn from it too.


“great wee book”

Concise but thoughtful approach to listening to sermons. Some good tips and sound advice, especially about preparing for sermon prayerfully


“I wish everyone who listens to me preach would read this booklet”

This booklet is colorful, the artwork is entertaining and the layout is engaging. However, the content is better yet. The Director of the Cornhill Training Course in London, England, Christopher Ash has done congregations and preachers a great service. I am making them available for free to my listeners.
Each of the seven sections starts by introducing us to two different listeners and their approach to listening and why one profits from the sermon and why the other doesn’t. Each of the seven concludes with practical steps to take. In between is very good advice on listening. This advice is also good for the preacher to remember as he prepares his sermon.
Ash’s counsel is solidly based on the belief that the Bible is the Word of God. “However, when the Bible is faithfully opened up, we are to listen to the preacher’s voice as the voice of God Himself. The preacher stands in the great tradition of prophets and apostles who spoke the word of God” (p 4). He makes it clear that the preacher’s authority is borrowed and it is only as the preacher sticks to the truth of the text that he should be taken seriously. He advises the listeners to constantly ask themselves “where did the preacher get that from?” (p 10). He insightfully spells out why sermons should be listened to in person at church. He cautions against a steady diet of “celebrity preachers” (p 18).
The booklet concludes with advice on how to listen to bad sermons and suggestions for encouraging good preaching. Both preacher and listener will benefit from this booklet.



I just finished reading this excellent booklet last night. It is a very quick read (31 pages)--taking me less than an hour.

But don't let the size fool you--this book packs a punch! It is organized around seven points:

(1) Expect God to Speak, (2) Admit God Knows Better, (3) Check the Preacher Says What the Passage Says, (4) Hear the Sermon in Church, (5) Be There Week by Week, (6) Do What the Bible Says, (6) Do What the Bible Says Today--and Rejoice!

This book is so relevant to today's church. It actually address the reality of Christians relying on internet sermons as their primary source of evangelism and edification. Very helpful.


“excellent book”

I really was so blessed by this book. It was recommended to my church by our minister. Easy to read and well worth reading a few times again. This book re-inforced my approach to sermons as well as teaching me how to glean more from the sermons. I found it so beneficial in learning me how to react to a good sermon as well as talking to others in the church about spiritual matters. A tremendous book, a great blessing to the soul.
I was so pleased I was able to purchase it on-line as I was not able to source it in the local Bible book shop.Thank-you so much for sending it to me so quickly. I would have no trouble in recommending the book to any-one.
God bless,
Ruth Boyd.


“Excellent and balanced guide to listening to sermons”

It was suggested that our church should buy a copy of this booklet for all its members, so as a Deacon I read it to see whether I could back the suggestion. I found it to be easy to read with many suggestions that might help us all to get more out of the weekly sermon. A good guide for new Christians of all ages, and a real motivator for those of us who have lost the expectation of hearing God speak through the Sunday sermon. Perhaps we don't hear because we've lost the art of listening. Listen up!


“Great resource not just for church-goers”

Listen Up! is not only a great resource for regular church-goers who listens to their pastor's sermons, but is also a great resources for pastors. Christopher helpfully articulates healthy expectations that a preacher should keep in mind when preparing his sermon. We are excited that this booklet is now available and will be giving one to everyone who attends our Workshops on Biblical Exposition this season.


“Every Christian, who is serious about the Word of God, should read it.”

Listening to a sermon is not something I'd expect to read a book about, but it's so important. I found this very easy to read, easy to understand and helpful. I guess like all the things we read, it's putting it into practice that's the hard part.
We're going through it as a home group, so hopefully the accountability will be useful there.


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