I'm working on preaching shorter sermons. My goal is 20 minutes because that's what a TED Talk typically is (I think that's TED's limit). During my contemplation this morning, I realized why my sermons get so long: I think I try to answer too many questions or solve too many problems during a sermon. It's not that those ideas are bad. They are all inspired from the scriptures as something the congregation needs to hear...just not all at once. They could be split up into multiple sermons and form a series, or be a part of a different series. My best sermons are the ones that focus on one idea so people leave remembering something.
I'm using an online coaching resource at www.therocketcompany.com to help me improve. According to them, the average length of the most watched sermons on YouTube is just over 38 minutes. I tend to think "less is more." I've heard that if you can't say it in 5 minutes, you probably can't say it in 30 minutes either.
What Do You Think?
What is the ideal length for a sermon? What do you think? How long are your sermons? Does the length change based on context/community (I assume it does for a special occasion)?
Lately, I've had an issue with some dry skin on the back of my right hand. It has looked bad enough that people around me have shown great concern. When I was backpacking through the Missouri wilderness a couple weeks ago, I didn't bring any lotion or ointment for it other than sunscreen. A newly made friend who was with me said it looked like psoriasis because of how similar it looked to what he had experienced. But the more important conversation I want to tell you about is the one we had about healing.
Since I'm preaching through the book of Acts, I thought I'd ask for opinions on miraculous healing as we trapsed through the pine trees of the Mark Twain National Forest. As the conversation progressed, one friend mentioned that many times, things like psoriasis can be symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression or other spiritual/mental/emotional issues. To which I replied, "What? You think I need healing?" He replied, "Wouldn't you want it?" The answer is of course, "Yes!" But my reply was more like this...
There are people worse off than me. There are enough bigger problems to fix. I can get by just fine without it. My hand being this way, it isn't keeping me from living a 'normal' life. I can still pretty much do everything that I have done and want to do. I'd rather focus my prayers on something "more important."
So that's the question: Am I important to God? Does God really love me that much that he would have healing for me? Is His power limited to only the "big" problems? Isn't this thinking and praying too self-centered?
As I read the scriptures and listen, I hear God saying "Yes, you are important to me. I do love you that much." It's a radical love that I don't fully understand yet. But God proves his love for us through his son, Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you've wondered the same thing and thought, "Does God really love me that much?" I hope you hear a resounding "Yes!" Yes, God loves you. Yes, you are important to God. Yes, you are worth God's time. So much so that he sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to prove it to you. May you gain confidence in God's love and grace. May that love change you like it's changing me. May that love heal you like it's healing me. May that love spread through you to others.
[NOTE: In case you're worried about my hand, multiple friends have suggested that it's psoriasis, so I bought some special ointment for it, and it looks a lot better. But I still haven't been to the doctor about it, eventhough a few people have suggested that. I will go to the doctor...eventually.]
I am a Software Developer, a career shift made in 2018. So far, I have experience with C# .Net and Angular. I continue to let curiosity lead me into learning new technologies. I plan to share what I learn along the way about technology and personal/career life. Previously, my vocation was United Methodist pastor. So in addition to coding, I'll share about theology, the Church and The Bible. I also enjoy running, music, and I'm a deeply committed father and husband. Maybe my experiences will help you. I know it helps me to share.