How do you take sermon notes on Sundays?
Every Sunday, my husband and I worship in the pew beside my mother and father. I take sermon notes on the back of my bulletin, while my mother writes in her spiral bound Steno notepad - a practice she has been doing since I was BORN! That’s 34 years. Don’t bother to try to read her writing (lol! No one in our family can read her writing!) – she writes very quickly in shorthand (shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed or brevity of writing as compared to a normal method of writing a language)
From time to time, she will reference past sermons – she remembers details I do not remember Lol! She’ll get out her notepad and quote the pastor. I have sat in her Bible studies where she includes the pastor’s words as a part of her teaching. She not only worships on Sundays but she is focused and hungry to soak up God’s word and listens intently to the preachers words.
Prior to 1975, I wrote my sermon notes on the church bulletins using the front and back and often running out of space (as you can see below – she has saved her old bulletin notes). I realized that I needed a better note taking method. Beginning in 1975, I decided to use a steno pad for my notes. I had previously been a secretary and was familiar with shorthand so this was the perfect size notebook for me. It was also the same size as my Bible, making it easy to carry to church on Sundays.
I fill about one steno pad a year. The steno pads are dated by year, and sermon topics are written inside the cover. For example: April 4 – May 16, 2010, Pastor Butch Pursley spoke on the topic of “Heaven.” (that is noted on the cover) Because steno pads are slim, I can easily store all of them upright from 1975 to the present on one shelf in a cupboard. They actually take up very little space.
Some ask why I take notes. I like to take notes as the pastor is speaking because it helps me to focus my thoughts and keeps my mind from wandering. Also, I remember more of what is said if I write it down. I not only HEAR the message, but also SEE it written in my own hand. Whenever God uses a particular message to speak to my heart, I will often re-read through my notes, reflect on the passage, pray and make necessary applications to my life.
Because God has given me the privilege of leading women’s Bible studies, I refer back to my notes when preparing a lesson to refresh my memory of what I have learned in the past about a particular book or Biblical topic. Today we are blessed to have so many study tools available to us and many godly men and women who teach and equip the saints. This is just one of the methods I have found useful in helping me understand what the Bible says, what it means, and then apply or act on the truth that God has taught me through His Word