Enhancing On-going Ministry Through Equipping, Encouraging, and Interceding

The Length of a Sermon

Social media is abuzz with the question of how long a sermon should be.  Some say 45 minutes to an hour, reasoning that one can sit that long or longer at a concert, in a theater, or at a sports event, so why not for a sermon.  Others argue that we are a TV generation, thus we are trained to focus for thirty minutes at a time, and that after all, the mind can absorb no more than the seat can endure.  I remember a day in Preaching class when a student asked our professor how long a sermon should be and the answer was, “Until you are through,” and then he added, “and not any longer.”   Good advice.  I was raised on 28 to30 minute sermons and was taught the same during my preaching classes.  One church rejected me as their Interim Pastor because I was too traditional, meaning, my sermons were too short.  I’ve always thought it was best to leave folks wanting more than to exhaust the subject. Another church with multiple services and likewise, multiple Bible Study classes, asked me to preach longer since my thirty-minute sermons were allowing folks in the early services to get out too early, thus rushing the folks in the Bible Study classes to finish too soon.  One staff member encouraged me to “just add another dog story to each sermon.”  The Apostle Paul told Timothy to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). I guess it takes some preachers longer than others to do that – just so it’s not the audience that is “longsuffering.”

 

 

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