Time to Speak

Just before the worship service started one Sunday, the guest preacher asked me (the pastor) how many minutes I usually preached.  I told him I usually go 12 to 15 minutes.  His reply stuck with me to this day: “Well, I’ve got 20-25 minutes, so they better be ready to listen that long!”

I had never really thought about it that way.  As far back as I can remember, I’ve prepared sermons, and speeches, in terms of wanting to keep the people’s interest.  If they aren’t paying attention, I might as well be gargling.

Do we really expect people to listen just because we are preaching, or because we are standing in a pulpit, or because we’ve begun with a few verses of scripture?

3 thoughts on “Time to Speak

  1. As a pew sitter and NOT a preacher I have to say that I think you should preach until the Holy Spirit is done talking. I’ve listened to sermons that abruptly stopped short and the preacher apologized for the time and I felt short changed. Who really cares about how much time is passed? It’s Sunday! Let the the Holy Spirit say what He needs to say, because someone out there needs to hear it! If I can’t afford a few extra minutes on Sunday to God, then I need to re-evaluate my spiritual state of being. God called you to preach for a reason, and I hope it wasn’t because you could get me to lunch on time! Anyway, God bless you preachers, and THANK YOU!!

  2. I appreciate your point, Tommy. I don’t recall that I’ve ever stopped short of where I was going with a message because time ran out. I have, however, sometimes shortened a message because other parts of the service have gone longer than planned. When I have done this, like sermon planning and delivery in general (for me) my intent is to communicate what I understand of the scriptures to the congregation, rather than to speak for a certain amount of time on a given topic or scripture.

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