Is Anybody Listening? A Study on the Psychology of Attention Span and Practical Steps Pastors Can Take to Capture and Keep Their Listener's Attention During a Sermon
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“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Rom 10:17). Every pastor has the privilege of preaching God’s Word which has the power to create and strengthen faith. But a problem pastors can face is losing their congregation’s attention during the sermon. The purpose of this study is to answer the following questions: “What is the psychology behind attention span?” and “What practical steps can a pastor take to capture and keep their listeners’ attention during a sermon?” The first section of the study will review the literature that informed this study. The literature in the psychological realm of attention span will be reviewed first, and then the literature in the realm of homiletics will be reviewed. The second section of the study focuses on the psychology of attention span. This section will examine studies that define attention span, how long it lasts, and psychological factors that affect it. The third portion of the study will examine why this information is important for a pastor to consider, and also offer a variety of homiletic styles and techniques a pastor can utilize to engage his audience. This section will examine the work of Lutheran dogmaticians, Adolf Hoenecke and Francis Pieper, who explain the supernatural and psychological working of God’sWord. This section will also examine the literature on homiletic and professional speech which offer advice on how to capture and keep attention during a sermon.