LifeWay Research is meddling again with a survey on sermon length.
Great work guys. Now it’s confirmed that most pew-sitters prefer a sermon of 20-40 minutes. Personally, I have sat in churches and listened to sermons both short and long that robbed me of 20-40 good minutes. That string of jokes, stories, and guffaw-bait probably didn’t even qualify for being called a “sermon.”
Adrian Rogers would preach over forty minutes and it was was too short.
I have preached twenty minute sermons that were probably fifteen minutes too long.
My informal survey reveals that most pastors are preaching shorter sermons online that they did before a live audience. Universally, this is a pleasant result of our current crisis. Shorter sermons. Who would have thunk it?
Revival may indeed break out.
Why shorter sermons?
“Because I don’t want to chase rabbits if no one is there to watch,” said one of the seasoned brethren who, metaphorically, may have never seen an unchaseable rabbit.
Maybe because a live audience jacks the beloved pastor up to a level of longwindedness, soaring with either the golden eagles or the turkey vultures. Problem is, the brother diesn’t know the difference between the two. Maybe preaching to vacant pews or the back wall of your office just doesn’t tap that inner well of excessive exuberance.
Maybe because preaching in an empty room reminds God’s beloved herald that he is not in the entertainment business.
Maybe because the pastor has spent years educating the church family about how he needs to reserve and protect his time alone with God, in the study, wrestling with texts and conjugations and such things and now that a wider audience may hear him online he’s worried about someone finding out he steals most of his stuff. Now, his own unique sermonic creations are, well, much shorter.
My church is planning to start in-house services again in June. The social distancing needed means that the pastor will preach the same sermon four times. I bet the sermons stay short.
So…how’s it going for you? I’ll be glad for normality to return.
Had a guy come in for a revival. He preached one of the best 15 minute sermons I’d ever heard. Problem was, the preached five of them at once. It didn’t get better as the week progressed.