Sermons can be a great source of inspiration. But if you have a poor memory, like I do, it’s easy to forget the information and application. For a long time I took basic notes, which was fine, but I wanted to do better. Which lead me to discovering the best way to take notes during a sermon: Sketchnoting.
What are sketchnotes and why do they matter?
Mike Rohde coined the term Sketchnotes when he developed a form of notetaking to help him at conferences. As a practicing christian, he soon started using this method at church.
Sketchnotes are a way of taking notes that uses visual and verbal elements. Instead of just words from top to bottom, you can add images, directions, colours and use more free form layouts.
By combining these two aspects of visual images and verbal text, you gain the benefits of being more attentive while taking notes and remembering what you are taking notes of.
There are some theories for why this works but basically a summary is that your whole brain is engaged and you have to think more deeply and creatively. This heightened attention and engagement leads to stronger memories being formed which last longer.
Oh and it’s fun to do as well.
Here’s a video explainer.
But how do you record EVERYTHING said
Okay, here’s the strange part of sketchnotes. You actually remember more, but recording less.
With this different style of note taking, you don’t have time to record everything; the information just goes too fast. Instead, you only record the key points.
In studies where students could use a laptop or handwrite, the typing students wrote down more but remembered less. The handwriting students remembered more because they couldn’t write everything down.
There are several reasons why including the more tactile experience which helps form stronger memories, however, one of the key aspects is that by not being able to write everything, the note taker has to analyse and make decisions about what to include. That leads to stronger memories being formed as you engage more with the topic.
The are, however, ways to help record more in your sermon sketchnotes even with more time consuming aspects such as, leaving space to fill in later (for pictures or bible verses) and adding color and layout features later. Not to mention, if your church records its sermons, you can always relisten to the audio later and add more details.
How can you start sketchnoting
There are plenty of great resources to help you start sketchnoting but here are a few points I’d recommend.
- grab some tools you like (a nice pen and some basic paper.)
- just start, you don’t have to be perfect and you can make mistakes. It will be frustrating but you’ll get better.
- check out Mike Rhode’s website here for resources or get his guide here or the advanced techniques book here
- take my free course on how to start sketchnoting here
From your experience, what’s the best way to take notes during a sermon?