Listeners Dare: Hearing God in The Sermon, a new book by William H. Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry at Duke Divinity School and a retired United Methodist Church bishop, has been released by Abingdon Press.

The book (a companion to Preachers Dare) is for anyone who listens to sermons—which includes preachers, since Willimon argues that 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.

Willimon says, "In five decades of preaching and teaching preaching, I’ve learned to respect preaching as a demanding practice for listeners. Listeners Dare is my celebration of the ways in which God gets through to people through sermons. I offer help for listeners seeking to get more out of sermons and for preachers who must listen to their listeners. Christians are those who have dared to listen for a word from the Lord and have heard that word in Jesus Christ. Listening to sermons is a major way that God gets through to God’s people.”

A widely published author, preacher, and teacher of preachers, Willimon has written more than eighty books, many of which have been translated into many languages and have sold over a million copies. Other recent books are Leading with the Sermon: Preaching as Leadership (Fortress Press), Aging: Growing Old in the Church (Baker Academic), and Preachers Dare: Speaking for God (Abingdon Press). 

For twenty years Willimon served as dean of Duke Chapel and professor of Christian ministry at Duke Divinity School. He has served congregations in Georgia and South and North Carolina and is a retired bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church.

See a video of Willimon talking about Listeners Dare