Monday, 10 March 2008

Short sermons can be better

Justin Moffatt who blogs "I'm Rambling Again" has written an interesting post which every preacher should read regarding the Gettysburg Address. His main point being that Lincolns speech only contained 279 words, yet the way they were crafted together makes it one of the most well known speech's ever given by mankind. Justin makes the proposal that he is going to try and put into practice the Gettysburg principal for sermon preparation in writing it out full with using only 279 words, making sure each word is is worth hearing.

Short sermons can often be far more effective in making the point than a long sermon can. Dr. John Capper once told us in a lecture the story of one of his best sermons. He was invited to be the guest preacher at a certain nameless respectable church where the minister and congregation had only heard of him, and never met him. As you can see from his photo he is a rather bushy bearded guy and this day he dressed in old clothes and went to church dressed as a homeless guy of the street.
The story goes that as he sat down on the pew the various people next to him shuffled a few inches away and some even moved to other pews. During the service both the minister and most of the congregation eyed him off a few times in a way that made him feel not welcome. When it came for the sermon the minister announced that he was sorry to say that their guest preacher for the morning had not turned up and that though he was not prepared he would wing it.

With that John stood up, announced that he was the guest speaker for the morning and gave a brilliant short talk on Paul's command on not showing favoritism to those who are better dressed than others and then walked out of the church. I believe that short sermon would be one that would stick in the minds of all who was there more so than any other sermon they have ever heard!

Abraham Piper is another who is doing his best to write short posts, his blog 22 words is a great attempt at proving that short can be better.

8 comments:

Justin said...

Justin who??

Justin said...

I ought to say that it is good to be linked either way, Craig B. I have followed your comments for years on Syd Ang.

Craig Bennett said...

Thanks for the comment Justin; I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing having my comments followed on Sydney Ang's. ;)

I too have followed your blog for a while since Craig S linked to it. Blessings craig b

Justin said...

Hey Craig -- Thanks. Your comments are thoughtful.

My point is that I am Justin Moffatt, not Justin Taylor. Justin Taylor is the guy who links to all the Reformed dudes in the states...

Hope that helps.

Craig Bennett said...

Oops, "Sorry" how embarrassing! I knew who you were, bad typo.

Justin said...

They say that Justin Taylor and I are twins separated at birth...

:)

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I tend to preach relatively short sermons.

Craig Bennett said...

Sometimes by preaching short sermons you can cause the congregation to think you should have preached longer, and look forward to future sermons which is better than thinking you should have stopped preaching some time before.