Crafting A Shorter Sermon

The preacher must pay attention to the non-verbal communication of his audience.

  • If the audience begins to show that unblinking “cow look” stare in their eyes, it is time to quit.
  • Richard Westfall, a wonderful preacher, who only preaches for about 30  minutes jokingly says that when his congregation begins to sit at a 45-degree angle, he decides to quit!

Knowing when to quit is important. One can say a lot in 30 minutes if they are precise, concise, and clear. C.H. Spurgeon said, “The preacher’s sermon time should be measured with wisdom.” It is wise to have shorter sermons because people can better process the Word of God.

A preacher is to do the following:

  • Read the text.
  • Explain the text.
  • Apply the text.

To craft a shorter sermon, use an outline. Warning: Some will criticize you for this.

The “golden rule” is this: Tell them what you are going to tell them [the thesis statement in the introduction]. Then, tell them [the body of the sermon]. Finally, in the Conclusion summarize what has been said. Tell them what you told them. No new ideas are presented in the conclusion.

As Dear Abby once said when asked for advice about giving a speech, “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

In Praise of a Successful Preacher:

We gave him twenty minutes.
He finished up in ten.

Oh, there’s a Prince of Speakers.
And a servant unto men.

His diction wasn’t very much.
He hemmed and hawed a bit.

Still, he spoke a lot of sense.
And after that, he quit.

At first, we sat quite paralyzed.
Then we cheered and cheered.

We gave him twenty minutes.
And he finished up in ten.