As an exegetical preacher I struggle, mightily, to preach at Holy Cross. Primarily this is because of the time limit placed upon us – 12-14 minutes. I religiously adhere to the time… but find it difficult to communicate as well as when I have 20-25 minutes.
But where is the problem? Is it in the time limit? Or is the problem in learning how to communicate effectively Biblical concepts in the time given? In other words, is the problem the system or the preacher.
I believe the problem is with the preacher. Certainly, I could make a case for longer sermons for a variety of reasons. But as a communicator, I found this very helpful:
“Sermon length is not measured in minutes; it is measured in minutes-beyond-interest, in the amount of time the minister continues to preach after he has lost the interest of his hearers.”
The feedback I get from Holy Cross is superb. I know that I’m doing a good job – but that is never good enough for me. I want to keep learning and growing… and having a limit (artificial, in some ways)… causes me to evaluate and grow and challenge myself in many ways. Efficiency is the key… which requires copious preparation.
The author of the above quote goes on to say:
Some preaching is so bad that the best we can say about some preachers is that they themselves realize it, and are merciful in the length of their sermons (ouch!). By contrast, I’ve heard ministers whose sermons I was disappointed to have come to an end. These entire sermons had been so well delivered–so thoughtful, so faithful to the text without being pedantic… so well-organized as to appear seamless, so challenging and nourishing to my soul–that I just didn’t want the experience to end.”