4 comments on “Mmmm…this could be challenging…

  1. Giving yourself a time target and sticking to it is beneficial, I think: it encourages real focus on the audience and on how they hear and interpret what you say – it helps you to hone and polish and cast out spare words and anecdotes which is strangely liberating (who was it who said ‘murder your darlings’ ?). Also I think that congregations – like all other audiences – have a cut off point when almost depsite themselves they stop listening and taking things in…We had a vicar in London who maintained that a sermon should be no longer than 20 minutes. He managed week after week to deliver the goods in this time and be inspirational, expositional and thought-provoking.

    However, he also intimidated curates and visiting preachers by imposing this limit on them and many struggled both with maintaining the time limit and with him looking at his watch in undisguised irritation if they slipped over the it!

    And, let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than an audience with its mind more on the tea and biscuits than on your heartfelt, Spirit-inspired words of wisdom!


  2. Thanks for the comments, Jackie.
    I agree that setting a legalistic framework for the sermon may well cramp the preacher’s style and even border on limiting the work of the Spirit.

    On the other hand, the gift of supernatural concentration and boredom suspension aside, there’s little point in me preaching a wonderful ‘spirit-inspired’ sermon if it has no regard for the biological operations of the human mind…10 minute concentration slots…pictures (especially moving ones) help us learn and recall much more than speech and words alone…etc.

    I also wonder if it fails to show proper respect for either the audience or the Word…after all, why should I demand that anyone listens to a word I say (my children taught me that!).

    PS “Brain Rules” by John Medina is a wonderful ‘pop biological’ excursion through ‘brain science’, particularly with reference to creativity, productivity and learning…I’ve been reading it to ‘catch-up’ on up-to-date research and findings to make my attempts at teaching more effective.


  3. Pingback: The challenge continues… « Pilgrim Traveller

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