Stone Soup for Five: {sermon notes} experimenting with Cornell Notes

{sermon notes} experimenting with Cornell Notes

I've decided that what I have been doing with sermon notes for the last two months has been good, but not great.  I'm kind of just rewriting them, and not necessarily thinking through or applying them.  

Back in college I experimented with taking lecture notes with the Cornell Notes method.  I really enjoyed it.  It helped me process information and study for tests all in one.  I wondered if maybe that would work to process my sermon notes.  

So I went to The Google to see what I could find... and someone else had the idea before me!  (Love it when that happens.)

I tweaked his idea just a bit and got to work.  And honestly, it was really good.  In church I took my usual notes on paper, then transferred them to the Cornell style on the rewrite.  Here's how I decided to do my layout:

During service I took notes as I usually do on a printout from our church.

Then I went through them (I rewatched the sermon, since this was a new way for me to process my notes and thoughts.) and filled in the sections.  This is what it looked like when I was through with the sermon.

The back was a little off.  The last part of the sermon is usually more application based.  So I wasn't quite sure how to work this in, but I will figure it out.  I'm sure some weeks will fit this format better than others.  But the point is to think and process more than make it all fit beautifully and efficiently on the page, right?

Then after finishing the notes, I filled in the top and bottom sections.  The top is where I wrote out some things I need to do and questions to think about.  And the bottom part is where I answered the ever valuable "So what?" question, or what my take-aways were.

So overall, I'm pretty excited about this method and am looking forward to experimenting more!  It was a great way to process and think through personal application.


  1. I love this idea. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Great idea! I used to do something similar with notes in school but never tried this with my sermon notes. Hmmmmm

  3. I am going to try this method. On the weekend I was watching a video about Cornell notes and I wondered if they would be of use for Bible study, lectures, sermons and so on. I am definitely going to give this a try. I have just begun a study on the book of Ruth which consists of a study portion, group discussion and then a video lecture so this will be an interesting method to put into use. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. This is great! I have used the Cornell Notes style "live" in sermon note-taking in the past. It helps to lay out the blank page ahead of time. The video and your suggestions are very helpful. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. As a college student I used Cornell Notes, and as a teacher I've modified them for my special education students, but I never thought about using them for sermon and Bible study notes. Thanks.


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