Dr. Luther Dorr, my preaching professor in seminary used to like saying that preaching is foolish enough; it’s the preacher’s goal to not make it any more foolish than God intended. Perhaps Dr. Dorr hoped to save us from making the mistake of taking the “power of salvation” out of the preaching event. Either way – there is something powerful about the message of the Gospel, whether presented with words or deed.
The late comedian, George Burns, is quoted as saying, “The secret of a good sermon is having a good beginning and a good ending. And having them as close together as possible.”
A quick check of John Wesley’s sermons from the late 18th century reveals that he wrote approximately 5500 words in a sermon. Typically, those sermons took a good bit more than an hour to preach. Today’s attention-deprived minds prefer shorter; MUCH shorter. My average sermon is about 4 typed pages, or 1500 words (less than 1/3 of Wesley’s), taking 20-30 minutes to preach. Even this is long-ish by some standards.
If the foolish/powerful/very long messages of the 18th century propelled the Wesleyan movement in America, spreading scriptural holiness across the land like a grassfire, what is the “Scriptural A.D.D.” 10 minute “sermon-ette” doing to our culture?