Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just for professional interest

Every now and then I go to other churches or listen to podcasts just to see how other people go about delivering a sermon.

I have just listened to 45 mins (and finally lost ability to continue to listen) of one from a young and vibrant church down in the "big smoke". I thought I might learn a thing or two about being relevant and communicating to younger audiences in the modern world.

It seems that it is perfectly natural to introduce your main point at least 35 mins into your sermon.

It seems that it is perfectly okay to bring in the scripture you want to focus on after 45 mins.

I also need to cultivate a whiny voice that can be raised continually until I reach a crescendo every 10 mins or so, possibly to make certain my audience are still with me.

Oh, and "if you agree with me, say YES!" falls quite flat on the podcast when there is no microphone for the congregation. In fact, if you need to stir them up, it's probably not genuine response anyway.

I reckon in the 45 mins I listened to there was about 10 mins of material, the rest was just waffle. And there could have been quite a bit to come, given the fact he'd just got his Bible out.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've listened to sermons that were over the 30 min mark and I was sad that they finished ("where did the time GO?"), but this guy wasn't one of them. Unfortunately I've heard plenty more in the same style.

I realise, too, that there are people who have a 10 minute message that seem like an hour.

I guess I try to have a solid structure, solid research behind it, and make the presentation as interesting as I can. There's also much to be said for allowing the good ol' Holy Spirit to have a chance at moving you during both preparation and presentation. but I generally try to aim for about 6 hours preparation for a 15 minute talk, rather than the opposite.

Once I was presenting a professional seminar at a series of development courses and surprised one of the organisers by saying, "I generally try to stop talking when I've said everything that has to be said."

Chance that I'm going to email that pastor with some constructive criticism? ... I'm way too passive aggressive for that!


Wendy said...

You are so right about the 6hr for 15 min talk. It's the same for writing. To get it succinct and good, you need to put a lot of work in. The less work, the more waffly and longer it becomes!

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

But if you don't tell him how will he know?