Sunday, March 20, 2005

How to Preach a Lousy Sermon and Lead a Lousy Service

I found this page today when I came home from church.

How to Preach a Lousy Sermon

My first google search was "preachers that preach too long." That didn't pull up anything interesting, but a google on "sermon too long" pulled up this beauty.

The final point in this essay is particularly strong:

I’m not going to tell you how long a sermon should be in minutes. Some sermons are too long before they even start. Others are so engrossing and so inspired, you regret when they end. Sometimes a sermon has to be short, because the service that day is long and involved. You don’t need to put your watch on the pulpit to see if your sermon is too long—just watch the congregation. How many people are looking at their watches? How many are staring out the window? How many are passing notes? How many are fidgeting and restless? If you’ve lost your audience, you might as well cut your losses, close up shop, and try again next week. You won’t recover by talking more.

I searched a little more on the website and found this:

How to Lead a Lousy Service

And again, the best point is in the final section:

You can really make worship lousy by cramming too many things into it. For example, in a single service, you could receive new members, recognize the Sunday School leaders, christen or baptize new babies, consecrate new lay leaders, acknowledge your scout troops, and—huff, puff—have a lengthy report from a group that just returned from a project. If you also include an elaborate Eucharist and move directly into a congregational meeting afterwards, you can make everyone feel trapped!

It’s wonderful that your church is so vibrant, but no one is impressed by anything that happens while they are in bladder distress. So if you don’t want a lousy worship service, spread the special events out and keep worship a reasonable length.


Nick said...

ok so I am going to stretch here and assume you thinking of services at a church we know of...I used to pass the time there trying to figure out which people were actually asleep and then I would read the Bible...but the sermons are waaaaaaaaaaaaay long at "the church" was your trip by the way

Sarah LH said...

proposed new title for post:
"Dear Ed..."

Jessie's Mom said...

I'm glad Jessie passed this blog to me. My favorite (have your read it yet?) is Empty Worship. It is about self consumed worship. A friend recently told me she visited a church where the singing was great and the preaching was scriptural, but she sensed something (someone) missing. The Lord Jesus was off in a corner being ignored. As He slipped quietly away, no one seemed to notice and the service went on without Him.

Philip L. Copeland said...

Thanks, Jessie's mom, for visiting. I had not read the Empty Worship article, but I have now. Great website, eh?