Against the 30 minute sermon

Ted Campbell notes that six minutes was plenty long enough for the apostle Peter to preach: True New Testament Preaching.


5 thoughts on “Against the 30 minute sermon

  1. I guess for me it depends on the purpose of the Sermons. Yes, the Apostolic Sermons were short. Their purpose was to evangelize. Sadly in our Congregations today, our people, for the most part, “don’t have time” to participate in classes. I am not so naive to think that 20-25 minute sermons can make up for this lack of class attendance. But as Sunday School attendance disappears the Sunday Sermon is often the only way to give folks the teaching they need. Look at Emmaus Walks. The talk outlines are 20 minutes and in fact could take longer. There is no simple answer. When I was a student at Perkins, we were assigned to an ethnic Church to experience Church in another setting. I went to a Black Baptist Church that met from 10 -1. I loved it!!!! Of course, people felt free to come and go as they would. I never had a problem with the length. If the Congregation knows you love them they will be patient with whatever you do. And there are those who come rto Worship and learn.

  2. He was complaining about that back when I had him for UM History.

    Here’s what I left in his comments:

    Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount consists of 2,416 words total in the Common English Bible (NRSV? Get with the times!). I too have accurately and scientifically timed the English text (I’m not very good at Greek, but I have that good Midwest accent and cadence that’s good for television news anchors) of Matthew 5.3 – 7.27, reading at a moderate pace and utilizing a my Android Phone Stopwatch app, and the total duration of the sermon given by Jesus—the actual longest recorded in the New Testament—comes out to twelve minutes and fifty three seconds.

    1. Kurt, this is one of the best comments ever.

      I assume Campbell would point out that even that sermon comes in under the standard 15-20 minutes.

      And, I’m waiting for someone to say that Hebrews is a sermon not a letter. Go time that one.

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