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October 02, 2007

Comments

gmw

I remember a conversation a little while back in which a guy we know who works with a christian community made up of lots of 12 step folks who said that they preach about 35-40 minutes and their congregation does just fine...adding: and they've got considerably fewer brain cells than most church folks!

It's all about expectations and what people think is normal or prefer to have or prefer not to have.

the Thief

15 minutes usually.

I preached one 35 minute sermon, but even I got bored (senior pastor gave me "his" sermon to preach that week).

D.G. Hollums

preach? what is that... we just discuss, heh heh.

Frank Logue

Episcopal sermons are to be about two things:

1) About the Gospel
2) About 10 minutes

I regularly preach 12-15 minutes and so am a bit longwinded for an Episcopalian, but not by much. I find that I am not talented enough for three points and a prayer. The best I can handle is a one point sermon and so the amount of time is sufficient.

When I go over 15 minutes I feel it. Not so much within the congregation as within myself. I know that I have provided more than they can hold on to and digest. So if I haven’t struck pil after 12 minutes or so, I quit boring.

gavin

not that i preach, but my observations really go with a question of "how long is the service?" if the service is over within 65minutes then most do not care. but do not take liberties to have a long sermon on a day of communion or multiple baptisms.. our pastor is somewhere from 15-25 minutes and i've never been bored or seen a need to shorten. our associates sometimes give one too many illustrations, but that is minor.

do you need to know that i am united methodist? &:~)

gmw

Being a UM in a 20 minute sermon culture, I usually try to keep it to that. However, when I'm not careful to bow to that prevailing orthodoxy, I tend towards 25-ish.

My sr. pastor recently mentioned in a sermon a study that revealed that the 18-20 minute sermon is dying in favor of either shorter (10-12 mins) or longer (30-45 mins) sermons. He noted that most of the response from older folks is: "yeah, those kids and their shrinking attention spans..." to which the study responds by pointing out that the young gravitate strongly to the longer, more teaching-heavy sermons while the older, more established folks want shorter inspirational sermons.

My Sr. pastor jokingly called the 20 minute sermon a "dying art"--that is what he preaches and likes.

My contention is that I prefer a good sermon with some depth to it. If you can do that, feel free to go 30-45 minutes. If you're good, that's fine. I find that when it's not good, I don't want to sit through much of it. But when it is, I'm happy to take my time and soak it up!

+ Alan

Interesting stuff. Well, for the record, I don't any more (preach that is), and when I did I called it "teaching." What we did in our home church was more like me teaching for 10 minutes and then discussion surrounding that and the lectionary readings for another 20 or 30 minutes (non denom. emergo cathilo indy house church brand).

OK, fast forward to my present Roman Catholic circumstance - dude if you preached for 30 minutes in a Catholic church, I think the parish council would revolt! 10-15 is the norm. I think 15 even seems "long" to most Catholics in the pews.

I once heard an old preacher/leader say (not Catholic or Methodist) not to preach longer than your congregation could stand to sit - something like that.

I think this kind of thing comes down to philosophy of the Christian church life really. I mean, how important is "preaching" to the life of the church, to the whole Christian life as community? If the answer is, "it's only a small part and other things make up more the bulk of it" - then you won't, or shouldn't preach too long at all, because it's not really about preaching, it's more about other stuff.

Just a few thoughts - Peace to you.

+ Alan

Interesting stuff. Well, for the record, I don't any more (preach that is), and when I did I called it "teaching." What we did in our home church was more like me teaching for 10 minutes and then discussion surrounding that and the lectionary readings for another 20 or 30 minutes (non denom. emergo cathilo indy house church brand).

OK, fast forward to my present Roman Catholic circumstance - dude if you preached for 30 minutes in a Catholic church, I think the parish council would revolt! 10-15 is the norm. I think 15 even seems "long" to most Catholics in the pews.

I once heard an old preacher/leader say (not Catholic or Methodist) not to preach longer than your congregation could stand to sit - something like that.

I think this kind of thing comes down to philosophy of the Christian church life really. I mean, how important is "preaching" to the life of the church, to the whole Christian life as community? If the answer is, "it's only a small part and other things make up more the bulk of it" - then you won't, or shouldn't preach too long at all, because it's not really about preaching, it's more about other stuff.

Just a few thoughts - Peace to you.

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