How long should sermons be

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Earth Wind and Fire, May 2, 2014.

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  1. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    I have a short attention span so I tend to shut it off in my head whenever a preacher exceeds my limits. Is this a factor of concern for a pastor giving a sermon or is it immaterial to the development of the sermon?
     
  2. Rippon

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    Usually children have a short attention span --not adults. You would not have been a likely church-goer in Puritan times. Sometimes the sermons would go on for a few hours and yet the people wanted more!

    These days, for a meaty sermon, 45 -55 minutes. Dr.M-L-J. spent about an hour or so at most.

    For the mainstream Evangelical crowd --30-35 minutes I guess would be appropriate. As the congregation matures they should be able to handle a 50 minute sermon.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Do you watch movies?
     
  4. Rippon

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    You express a rather selfish attitude. The preacher is preaching for your benefit and you have your personal limits?!
    Alarm bells should be ringing in your head for your callousness there EW&F. What you have communicated is alarming for a Christian who wants to grow spiritually.

    You have gone on and on for years now about not being able to have church. Now that you have the opportunity you want to make some restrictions because your comfort zone has been compromised?
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Sermon lengths should be based on:
    1. ... where the congregation is at, not where the pastor thinks they should be.
    2. ... how good and seasoned a preacher is -- just because the Puritans preached 1-2 hours at a time doesn't mean any given pastor is a good enough speaker to do the same.
    3. ... leaving the congretation longing for more, not less.
    Plenty of folks may complain if a sermon is too long, but it's unlikely anyone will grumble about a sermon being too short. If a pastor wishes his sermons could be longer, he's probably the only one.
     
  6. sag38

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    I see a huge difference between a sermon and a movie. Both require a different skill set. One I watch. The other I listen to. With a movie I am being entertained not to mention that I "watch" a movie much more than I listen to it. The ability to pay attention in a casual setting is much greater. Not near as much is required of me. When I am "listening" to a sermon I am working much harder mentally. I am taking notes. I am checking scripture. I am intently trying to hear what God has to say to me. My desire is to learn. I want to walk away challenged or encouraged, or both. I want to walk away having retained something. After about 45 minutes my brain needs a break. I qualify as being ADD and asking me to sit still while learning for more than 40 minutes is pushing it.
     
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Wise words. I think sometimes that folks can confuse long for deep or long for spiritual.

    The preacher should not use shortness as an excuse to get done, but at the same time should not stretch it just to preach a long message.

    I am normally done in 30-35 minutes, but may go as long as 45 on occasion.
     
  8. Deacon

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    It usually takes me at least 5 minutes to fall asleep.

    A nap less than 30 minutes in my estimation isn't worth much...

    ...so I'd say a sermon should be about 45 minutes.

    Of course if you add a video or humor it would tend to wake me up and you'd have to lenthen the sermon time to make the nap worthwhile.

    Rob
     
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

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    No..............
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    if its for my benefit, Id advise him to keep it short.

    I can read & I can ask questions. Long drawn out sermons I can do without.

    What in heavens name are you babbling about?
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I might have it as well but thats not why Ive asked. If I amass a group of people who are unattached to any church in my neighborhood & we go through the sermon process, I don't want to bore them with long drawn out sermons, especially if most of these folks are ex-catholics & ex-main line churches. From my own perspective, I would prefer that someone develop & make a point with biblical references & then ask questions....I guess more of a teaching type scenario. Now if there were members within the group that were biblical scholars, I wouldn't be the guy to do the heavy lifting, but I don't have that. Remember these folks are mostly common everyday folks in need of development but they are disenfranchised from corporate worship.

    Again, get to the point, & back it with scripture then allow for questions. Out of there in 1/2 hr to 45 Minutes tops with a fellowship lunch after (and thats another means to teach with Q&A)
     
    #11 Earth Wind and Fire, May 2, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2014
  12. Aaron

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    Sermons should be as long as promised. If service is from 10 to 11, then the sermon should be over at 11.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    We do not give an end time for the service only a begining time.

    I have been know to preach as short as 15 minutes to as long as 45. I preach the message God gives me and I say no more or less than that. I work hard to pray over the message and make sure I am representing God correctly. If we cannot give God anymore of our time than what we give other things then that say more about them than it does the preacher.
     
  14. Greektim

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    I like what you are implying, but perhaps his problem is that his preacher is not as captivating as the cinema. I'm not saying this is a good criteria. But there it is.
     
  15. Greektim

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    A sermon should be as long as the text being exposited requires is one way to go with this. That is my first inclination.
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

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    You are saying no time limit then? Couldn't you break it up into sections?
     
  17. Greektim

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    You could, but that might also disrupt the flow and purpose of the text.

    But yes, no time limit. However, most extemporaneous preachers can't preach past an hour. It is too mentally taxing. Reading from a manuscript could draw it out (i.e. Puritans). But that is not in vogue these days.

    Personally, I preach somewhere between 30-45 min. on average. Afterwards, I'm exhausted.
     
  18. nodak

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    Best two preachers I ever listened to, Bro. Gene North and Bro. Joe Bunce, now head of the NM Convention, tended to preach about 20 minutes.

    Now, before you tell me what the Puritans did, let me tell you I have had so called neoPuritan pastors who preached around an hour. Never heard one of them say as much in an hour as those two men can say in 20 minutes.

    We do take children to church. I'm not interested in a service that makes them loathe church. I'm not interested in shuttling them off to a kiddy service either.

    If you can't finish a service in an hour to hour 15 minutes, you are either wasting a lot of time between "events", chasing rabbits, or have less to say than we need to hear.

    Before you blast me--those two preachers could take weeks to get through a sermon series in depth, and you really got what they preached. But the long winded kind tend to be not as deep as they think, repeat material a whole lot, or try to give you just plain too much to retain.

    I've done my share of public speaking. It is much harder to speak a cogent, retainable lesson in 20 minutes than it is to fill an hour. Or as one preacher told us teachers, lazy preachers preach long sermons because they don't want to do the hard work of editing and distilling, or else because they are narcissists. Run.

    We've taken his advice and not regretted it.

    Apologies in advance to any who's toes I stepped on because they preach long sermons. But those long sermons may account for lots of empty seats, and no, that doesn't make the absent ones shallow, callow, immature believers, or any other names you want to call them. Just means they've taken back some personal power from you. Yes, we realize you may have put long hours into preparing the sermons and wish we would respect your time. But we put in long hours on many other tasks, and wish you would respect ours.
     
    #18 nodak, May 2, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2014
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Correction.....I don't have a problem....and if I don't like your message or if you are too long winded then I just walk out.
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    You and I are of one mind on this issue.:thumbs:
     
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