I’ve been thinking again about sermon size.
My dad told me this week about a Catholic mass he attended that had a three sentence homily. Three sentences. My understanding is that in Catholic worship homilies are not required except on Sunday and days of obligation, so this might reflect that practice.
At the other end of the spectrum, I know it is not uncommon for pastors to preach 45 minutes or more on Sunday morning.
In license school they told me sermons should be 14-17 minutes long for mainline Protestants.
One important matter to get out of the way. You can have a small sermon no longer how long you preach. Part of sermon size has to do with the subjects that are discussed. And I’m a bit partial to the notion that the sermon has to determine its own size. Not every sermon is going to clock in at exactly the same length.
The Bible is not great at giving us guidance here.
Jesus’ own sermons include the Sermon on the Mount, which frankly reads more like notes someone took than a flowing sermon. That clocks in at nearly 2,600 words. Then you have his first homily in Luke 4, which barely started when he was cut off by questions.
In Acts we have several addresses that sound like sermons, all of them pretty short by modern standards. But then you have Hebrews, which I understand many scholars say should be seen as a sermon more than a letter.
All in all, it is hard to gain much guidance from scripture on this question.
How do you decide how long to preach?
For those who do not preach, how long should a sermon be?