In Praise of Short Sermons

  • Men Asleep in ChurchAs I travel the country, nothing I say creates more controversy than this: men would benefit from shorter, simpler sermons. In my Go for the Guys Sunday Action Plan, I advocate a one-point sermon, ten minutes in length, built around an object lesson.

    People are freaking out over this. I get comments like:

    • David, you have a low regard for men’s intelligence.
    • Short sermons “dumb down” the gospel.
    • With Biblical illiteracy such a problem, we need more teaching, not less.
    • We don’t need shorter sermons; we need better ones.
    • My pastor is so interesting I wouldn’t mind if his sermons were longer.
    • The apostle Paul preached for hours, and many were saved.
    • Men just need to learn to pay attention.

    Let’s take these one at a time.

    David, you have a low regard for men’s intelligence. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Studies have shown that men are much better than women at concentrating – but for a shorter period of time. The typical U.S. male has an attention span of 6 to 8 minutes. During that time, a man’s mind is absolutely locked in. But once you pass the 8-minute mark, his mind begins to wander. It has to do with the way his brain is wired.

    Short sermons dumb down the gospel. If you have a problem with short messages, than you have a problem with our founder, Jesus Christ. I took a stopwatch and timed the parables of Jesus. Their average length? Just 38 seconds. The longest parable? Two minutes, twenty seconds. Christ showed us clearly: it is not the length of the message but its impact that makes a difference in men’s lives.

    With Biblical illiteracy such a problem, we need more teaching, not less. The average sermon in U.S. Protestant churches is 31 minutes – and rising. As sermons get longer, overall male church attendance falls. The churches with the worst gender gaps – African-American churches – also have the longest sermons. Long sermons won’t make men more literate if they aren’t in church to hear them.

    We don’t need shorter sermons, we need better ones. Amen. You got me on that one. Indeed, megachurch sermons usually run 30 to 45 minutes. Men go to megachurches because the pastors are usually gifted communicators. But let’s be honest — not every pastor can preach with the skill of a Billy Graham (whose trademark as a young preacher was the 15-minute sermon). However, any speaker can become a pulpit powerhouse if he learns to translate complex spiritual truths into short, simple and memorable lessons.

    My pastor preaches almost an hour. He is so interesting I wouldn’t mind if his sermons were longer. Your church is currently reaching the people who will sit still for an hour-long sermon. But there is a huge unreached population that is rejecting your church because the sermons are so long. You don’t know about them because they attend once and never come back. The bulk of this population is male.

    The apostle Paul preached for hours, and many were saved. Paul preached an all-nighter sermon in Troas (Acts 20) because he was scheduled to leave the next day. The Bible says, “Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.” Of course this was no problem for Paul, who simply performed a resurrection, then went on preaching until dawn.

    What are we to make of this story? The text gives the reason Paul preached so long: because he was to leave in the morning. It was just his second visit to the city and the young church needed his expert instruction. They might never receive a preacher of his stature again, so lengthy preaching was appropriate in that instance.

    Here is Paul, the world’s greatest preacher, delivering brand-new, radical truth to the people of Troas. This is great stuff! But still, a young man fell to his death because Paul “talked on and on.” Young men are the demographic group least likely to attend Christian churches. Long preaching is one reason more than 70 percent of the young men who are raised in church “fall to their deaths” spiritually during their teens and twenties.

    Men just need to learn to pay attention. We’re fighting biology on this one. The verbal regions of a man’s brain are typically smaller in men than those in women. Women are stimulated by words; men are stimulated by visuals (romance novels do for women what pornographic magazines do for men). Since 95% of sermon content is verbal, the women in the audience are actually receiving more information than the men are.

    I think the main reason people are disturbed by the idea of shorter sermons is that we’ve swallowed a false concept: the only way to learn about God is through preaching and teaching. But studies reveal how ineffective preaching is at producing lasting life change. One study showed that just 12% of churchgoers can recall the Sunday sermon within 24 hours of hearing it.

    It’s time to think differently about preaching. Instead of seeing it as the centerpiece of the Christian maturity, what if we saw it as the match that ignited the flame? What if the sermon set up a week of small group discipleship experiences on the same topic? What if men, discipling small groups of men, reinforced the sermon with lessons of their own?

    I was talking to a preacher in Fairbanks, Alaska who was very threatened by this vision. I asked him, “How many a week hours do you spend in sermon preparation?” He answered, “Twenty-five to thirty.” So I challenged him this way: “Next week, spend 10 hours in sermon preparation. Simplify your message. Build in a memorable object lesson. Now you have an extra 15 to 20 hours to go out and love your men. Build them up. Meet them at work. Have lunch with them. If that doesn’t produce immediate fruit, go back to your 30 hours of sermon preparation.”

    What if we depended less on preaching and more on discipleship to change lives? I know this vision may threaten some preachers, but not those who are committed to men. It may give them less time in the pulpit, but it will give them more time to change men’s lives.

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    August 26th, 2009 | David Murrow | 35 Comments | Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

David Murrow

David Murrow is the director of Church for Men, an organization that helps congregations reach more men and boys. In his day job, David works as a television producer and writer. He's the author of four books. He lives in Alaska with his wife, three children, three grandchildren and a dachshund named Pepper.

  • Fred

    Remember how Hudson Taylor defied his western contemporaries in reaching the Chinese people. He adapted to the situation, culture, dress, language and people he was trying to reach and had unrivaled success compared to his contemporaries. They in turn rejected him even when God blessed his work.

    What I get from your book is we need to go where the men are, use the right kind of bait and present an environment in what might be called a sort of spiritual ergonomics, thus creating an effective delivery system for spiritual growth among men.

    Back to Hudson Taylor. His contemporaries would expect the Chinese to dress in western clothes, speak the english language and then conform to western culture. It didn’t work very well then, and it doesn’t work very well today. Unfortunately many who seek to share the gospel still find it uncomfortable to embrace that which violates their comfort zone.

  • Tony

    I am theologically trained, a lay preacher and my wife is the pastor who produces very good sermons and yet after 15 minutes my mind is wandering and I want her to finish. Thanks for suggesting that it is because I am wired that way.

  • Jeff

    Preach on brother! I, too, am a public speaker. Drive me NUTS to sit for long periods of time. Most pastors have me and then lose me when they start on their 3rd or 4th point. I speak 15-20 mins….and the irony is that I am constantly having folks tell me “you’re very gifted in presenting Jesus”…I want to say, “Really, I’m not. I just read the scripture, told the story and applied it to yours and my life.” Should it be more difficult? I don’t think so.
    So, thank you. Thanks for saying “sermons are too long!”

  • Rev. Michael Walker

    After reading the comments of others, it seems that some are in a hurry to get the message over with. When I’m preaching a sermon I am very aware of the time. It takes some time to prepare a (Good Sermon) and even more to deliver it. We Pastor’s take this gift from God very seriously and if it takes time to get it right then so be it. So my opion on shorter sermons I’m not in favor of them. However those Pastors who go on and on should take time to check themselves out. I hear your concerns and will be in prayer for you guys. Rev. Elder. Michael Walker

  • Dick McPhee

    Know your audience, use this knowledge to make the Scripture come alive, and be sure to connect the message to life today. Most of us are bored stiff with Biblical history lessons that have no connection with life lived today. Jesus knew this and said, “You have heard it said before but I say to you” then brought the message into focus for his listeners. It doesn’t even require power-point to accomplish this. If the preacher can’t get his/her main idea into 10 words or less he/she hasn’t done his/her homework…and it shows!

  • http://facesoflions.wordpress.com Dave Wilson

    Not sure if I agree with your premise, but it would be an interesting idea to try out.

    Do you know if any churches are using this approach successfully.

    By the by, I wrote a review of The Map recently. You can see it here http://facesoflions.wordpress.com/book-reviews/book-review-the-map-the-way-of-all-great-men/

    Thanks,
    Dave
    FacesOfLions.wordpress.com

  • Henrik

    Are you sure the short attention-span is truly hard wired, and not just a statistic of modern, high tech, dumbed-down culture?

  • davidmurrow

    Read Anne and Bill Moir’s “Why Men Don’t Iron.” The male brain is able to pay much closer attention, but for shorter periods of time. It’s a basic, biochemical difference that’s particularly pronounced in boys, rooted in testosterone production. Not all men have these high levels of testosterone, so some men are perfectly able to pay attention for long periods of time. But considering the genders as a whole, women are much better at giving their attention.

  • Joshua

    Acts29 Network seems to be solidly bucking this trend. Many of their pastors, such as Mark Driscoll, Darren Patrick and Matt Chandler will preach for 45min+ and they are consistently attracting and retaining men.

  • davidmurrow

    I’m getting ready to post an interview I did with Mark Driscoll where I ask him that question point blank. I’ll let you know when it’s online.

  • Robert Harmon

    Ok, so I shorten the sermon for the men….now what about the women who are EXPECTING a longer, more complete message? I’m a public speaker, and I know that I’m far from an accomplished speaker. Yet people (INCLUDING MEN) respond to what I say, and I preach 15-20 minutes with straight expository preaching. On performing this model, it would feel that I am sacrificing one group that needs the Good News for the other. But you’re absolutely welcome to your opinion on the matter, and if it works for you and there are people coming to a true saving knowledge of Christ, the Lord be praised.

  • Paul Candler

    Why men don’t iron ? I beg to differ with this I think it boils down to whether or not the topic is actually interesting or not, or who it is geared to. I personally prefer bible topics opposed to stories from some pastors fishing trip etc, seems to hardly ever have any releveance. As far as the testosterone issue I don’t buy into that one. I play ball, I kayak and canoe, hiking, run my dog 10 miles aday, cycle, ride motorcyles, use to race but getting to old ha ha 55 years love hiking, have participated in the martial arts for close to 50 years, go to the ymca every other day to weight train, accomplished musician just to mention a few. My point is I could sit for hours on end and listen to biblical messages as long as they are biblically based. God wants His word out there so stop trying to appease people it won`t work. Try obeying God
    ‘ He will take care of the rest.

  • http://familychristiainstore.com/ Lorenzo Felico

    Hi. I love your blog! I’d love to hear more.

  • http://noneatpresent Rev Dr James W Stark

    I am the son of a minister who delivered the three messages he had prepared for his “first outing” and and was done in 20 minutes. Was he really unprepared or lacking in examples?

    He is now with the Lord but ever since that first “message” he has been long winded. I now overprepare for my messages and ask God to cut it to 30 or fewer minutes. To help assure the time restraint, I write out each message. When a speaker of any type says, “in conclussion” they would do well to remember that their audience translates this as a conclusion; not another beginning to a second conclusion.

  • TL

    There may be other reasons for short attention spans. Church is generally boring when its just talk. Humans need something else to hold their attention or the mind wanders. Todays newest formats include video, pictures, drama’s mulltiple dialogues and audience participation.

    As for women, I suspect they’ve just learned to act like they are listening.

  • JustMe

    LOL! My comments were deleted. I wonder why. I said I had nothing against shorter sermons…but to use the argument that if you *were* against them, then the problem is with Christ Himself is wrong IMO. Christ used much more then just parables to teach (sermon on the mount and feeding the 5000), so that argument doesn’t really hold water either. I think it is best to say “Studies show men have a need for quicker more to the point sermons, and if you have a problem with that, take it up with the studies” then to try and guilt people into agreeing with you by saying they have a problem with God if they do not.

  • Gregory Anderson

    I believe I read the idea here that pastors need to clean up and shorten sermons so that they can go out and minister to men.

    I believe that the information I’m reading at this website pretty much necessitates a male pastor (of course) over a male congregation.

    I do not wish to participate in a church with only male members.

    I’m sure that I’ll be criticized for this take on things, but the fact that I’m educated and basing my understanding of Christianity on what I read in the Bible and see reflected in history will need to be handily dismissed along with my comments.

    It would save time if no one had read my comments. Then we could have been out ministering to more men.

    Since that applies to myself, I’ll go out and be God’s will in the real world with two genders and multiple needs and strengths. I will find extra time to do that because I will not be here at “Church for Men”.

    I came because some women I know were talking about how it seemed the information here was demeaning to men.

    I discovered it is demeaning of women and thinking adults and tending to put the focus off of Christ and upon being “effective” in one’s own ministry.

  • http://reformedevangelist.blogspot.com/search?q= Marvin

    I read the article and I read all the comments. I want you all to know that I am dead against this sort of shortening of sermons. Why? Because your dead wrong about Christian men and your dead wrong about men in general.

    Men will invest time in whatever pleases them, as a preacher youre trying to evangelise ungodly boys who dont want to be lectured and so a battle of carnal mindedness and religion appears. Then you transpose that thinking onto Godly Christian men and tell them that shorter is better. Nonsense. Shorter is only shorter and it takes nothing to prepare 10 minute sermons. In fact I would call most any preacher a liar if he told me he actually spent 10 hours of real study only to spend 10 minutes in delivering the truth he learned.

    I question whether you actually have any converts at all. I question whether your actually make any disciples. The world knows that discplined study and application of ones self is the only way to become proficient at anything. You, it seems are not as wise as the ungodly around you. All of these comments approving this nonsense only shows that they are as silly as you in this venture.

    Your bible proofs of Jesus only giving sound bite teachings is in error as well. Those who agree with you know little to nothing of their bibles.

    So, take this as a rebuke, take it as a reproof, but what youre doing is not of God, but only a method of starving any real sheep you have and now youve taken up entertaining goats while justifying yourself.

    Who am I? I am a preaching Elder in my congregation and an Evangelist

  • Jamiel Cotman

    I totally agree…I just think that it is hard to accomplish. Think, if church is mostly women, and we fail to appeal to them, they could leave! That is seventy or so percent of our support…financially, socially and otherwise,-gone!

  • Nate

    Women are consistently more attracted to church/faith because of their personal appreciation for dependence on someone (God, man as a financial provider, etc) but men are “taught” independence from their youth. Churches need to primarily minister to men, who are the priests of their home. We’re unwittingly encouraging a matriarchal spiritual model by focusing on the “easy demographic” of women.
    I can listen to an hour of preaching when I’m at my house, listening to the computer or ipod, but when I’m in church, sitting down, inactive, I have a hard time focusing. If the sermon is short and doesn’t resonate with the audience, it will have the same effect (in a shorter time period) as the long uninteresting sermon. “In conclusion” sermons should minister to men first, and then to women who will be back at church the next week regardless.

  • Alan

    Regarding Paul preaching for hours, if we really do take scripture as Historical fact, we need to also look at it in some historical context. As you noted, time was short for Paul and he had much to say. Further, even in preaching or evangelizing to those not yet “in” the church, we need to remember that what was being passed on, the Gospel, was very new – and very exciting. It was challenging the Israelites first by challenging their concept of a Messiah as being wrong – not the “secular” messiah they had been praying for but rather a spiritual messiah who provided the bridge, salvation, to take them from their worldly life (sinful) and allow them to stand before God – to realize His love for them. Regarding men, I had an interesting experience at a Homeschool convention not too long ago, attending a workshop about teaching writing, especially teaching writing to boys. The presenter asked first – who is the teacher, and then went on to explain that in most instances the boys teachers, in homeschooling, church schools, private schools or public schools — are women. Next he asked “what are boys interested in?” Hmmmm. Lets see. Do they play cowboys and indians, war, Tarzan, great hunter? Or would they rather play with dolls, and learn to bake cookies? Generally seaking, boys like “tough” things — and lets remember at all costs that God made them that way. Sports, competition, winning, fighting, combat, blood-guts and gore, physical challenges interest boys. So, the advice was to let boys wright about what they want to write about first, and when they have the process of writing down, then challenge them to be more “politically correct,” to transfer their new skills to some softer subjects. Again, remember, God made them that way. Someone hunts the dinner menue, kills it and has to clean it. Normally that falls to the male in a family – God’s wisdom. Someone also has to defend the family – sometimes physically – sometimes even defending the family by defending the nation – war. Neither of the above is for the squeamish. God made males that way. And in defending the family, males are made to be on guard, to anticipate challenges. The interior of their eyes is different, making them quicker to catch movement – movement that could spell danger. Likewise in hearing. Females respond to the soft sound of a baby wimpering – mothering. Males respond to different levels of sound – again, sounds that could warn of danger. Little things can have deep meaning as we try to raise boys to be men, so often the question to women is, do you want your sons to be men as envisioned by God — or as envisioned by you? Allow them to become more and more manly as they mature. When they are small, you care and protect them. But when they are as tall as you are and you are accosted by a stray dog on your walk together — God made males to stand between you and danger. Allow him to take as much lead as you can, as much as is appropriate to the occasion/event, to his age, and to his masculinity.

  • Josh

    As a minister of the gospel, I have to ask why shortening sermons is causing such an uproar.
    As far as I can tell both from my Master’s example and that of the rest of the Word, a Sunday morning sermon isn’t our only recourse for equipping the saints, evangelism, discipleship, teaching, addressing issues in the congregation, dispatching the congregation to ministry etc.
    As a matter of fact, there is only one example I can think of that has Christ addressing a crowd in a typical religious meeting, teaching or preaching scripture. His sermon, after reading His passage, “Today this passage is being fulfilled in your midst,” my paraphrase.
    Did Christ attend services? Yes. Did he properly use scripture? Yes. Was everything, He taught and spoke about communicated on a Sunday? Quite the opposite.
    I am not the wisest nor best exegete, but I think that it is plain that a sermon was not intended to be a “golden bullet.” Therefore, if we shorten it, lengthen it, or remove it entirely, we are not necessarily abandoning God’s Flock in our care.
    Maybe it is time to focus more attention on personal discipleship, breaking of bread in the homes of believer and daily teaching of the Word.
    If cutting it out makes us uncomfortable are we putting all of our eggs in one basket, contrary to the biblical model? Then we should ask if we are we getting our needs met by God or our congregation?

  • Christopher Appel

    After much deliberation, discussion, trial and error, my fellow elders and I have decided to return to the MAX 40 minute preach again. We have done the short +- 20 minutes and long +- 60 minutes sermons and have been convinced by experience within our context, that is the way to go. When we preach, we try what is called “double-impact” preaching. Preaching to the believer and unbeliever at the same time. It takes longer because using a word like “saved” needs to be explained in short when used around the unchurched. Finding a balance is so important! After ordering Davids DVD, we are stirred afresh to get it as close to “right” as possible. Keep you updated! Christopher Appel, Beacon Church, Langebaan, South Africa.

  • Anton Garrett

    David,

    How come schoolboys sat through several hours of lessons – each 40 minutes long – and made successes of themselves as a result for more than a century until schoolteaching methods got feminised in the last 40 years?

    It is worth distinguishing preaching from teaching in this discussion (and in studying Jesus’ words). Preaching needs to be short, but teaching reuires a good run. And sermons are generally given to the converted, ie they are teaching.

  • http://courtyardchurch.com Doug Smith

    Add this to the short sermon: follow up with a daily text (not just a scripture) to the men (or everybody who signs up) following up on the message or preparing them for the coming message.

  • Richard

    To Anton (comment of Sep 29)

    I remember well my schooling, which as you say was several hours of 40 minute lessons ever day, and it was a lot less than 40 years ago!

    But those 40 minute lessons did not just consist of listening to a teacher talk about a subject. My teachers wrote stuff on the blackboard, set us examples to copy, we had to do problems, read textbooks, etc etc. And there was a lot of variety – for example one science lesson was the teacher talking about electricity, the next we all got to mess about with batteries and flashlight bulbs. Sometimes we watched a film, and our school outings were often to historic sites.

    School has never been a series of 40 minute lectures. So your comparison with schoolteaching isn’t really valid. And my school wasn’t a trendy modern one, it was very conservative with a strong academic focus.

    I’ve also recently heard an education specialist say that teaching should be broken into small chunks of 10-15 minutes, simply because people (adults and children) cannot concentrate for a longer time.

    So if we take the view that sermons in church are teaching to believers (as opposed to preaching to unbelievers), the view of the schoolteaching world is that short is good.

    I liked the view of Christopher Appel in the previous comment – which was basically keep what you do under review and always seek to get it right.

  • Melissa Lowther

    As a 25yo female, I appreciate shorter sermons. I have sat through several long lectures and studies both in college & church settings, I do know how to listen. However, if someone is able to present the Word in a 10-15 minute presentation, I am more likely to retain that information. Using visuals, sounds, and actions can help individuals who learn in different ways. Personally, I retain information that is told as a story or is applied as tangible object lesson.
    As a nurse, I have seen the research that shows people retain information more if it is presented in a brief visual manner. That is why almost any health education is put into a brochure. I don’t think women would be scared off by shorter lessons. It seems like holding small group studies would offer great opportunities to dive into what was presented and discuss it.

  • Anton Garrett

    The other thing is motivation, of course. If you are hungry for the word then you will want to sit for hours hearing it expounded provided that the speaker is a good one. The Chinese house church movement expects Western Christians who manage to reach their meetings (and are touchingly if naively assumed to be more knowledgeable) to teach for hours. All hot-for-God movements have been like that, in fact, as church history reveals. I don’t think the problem is long sermons so much as lukewarm congregations and uninspiring preachers.

  • Barry

    Once heard a noted Minister and Teacher was ask how long it took to prepair his sermons. He as how long do you want me to speak. If you want a 15 min. sermon it will take me several days. If you want 2 hours I’m ready to go now.
    I have a short attention span, even at the age of 54. I can’t set down and read a book more than a few pages at a time without loosing concentration. Even setting under some of the most interesting ministers of our time, I will begin to get lost in reading more of the Scripture than what they have used in their sermon. Thus they have lost my attention.
    15 to 20 min. sermons with specific points related to the life we live today are more effective than a long drawn out sermon that I forget the first point before the sermon is finished.
    Oh by the way, I am a Minister/Pastor.

  • Andrew Evans

    Thanks David, very interesting – and surely there are many long, dull sermons out there. Mind you there are also very many short, shallow sermons! A few comments.

    a) I’m not sure that I expect people to totally concentrate for the whole of my sermon; in fact I deliberately build in devices to help people tune in and out at different points.

    b) Lots of things require attention for much more than 8 minutes (from battlefield action to university lectures to performing complex surgery to car repair) and most men seem to cope with one of more of those.

    b) What we have in the Scriptures are summaries of the sermons of Jesus and the apostles so you can’t predicate anything about sermon length from those. I wouldn’t use an illustration (which is essentially what a parable is; they were almost certainly part of a collection of parables or longer sermon) for more than a couple of minutes and nor would most preachers. 

    c) I don’t know anybody who thinks the only way to learn about God is preaching and teaching. But God has chosen to reveal himself to us in a book rather than (to pick up your own male/female example) a magazine. Does that mean God himself is prejudiced towards women and the way their brains are wired? I don’t think so.

    d) All the sociological/neurological research only shows what men are like at a given time. Obviously if men habitually spend their lives concentrating for just a few minutes, choosing to watch things rather than reads things etc that will have an impact on their brain structure. In other words none of the research you quote distinguishes between cause and effect. This may mean that we should preach more briefly when being evangelistic (I would say we definitely should) but may also mean that we should hope for and encourage people to grow in the ability to concentrate and take in more extensive and thorough teaching as part of maturing as a Christian.

  • Mike Horn

    In the mid 1950s I remember seeing in my grandfather’s papers a printed research article on sermon length and congregational retention.I don’t remember where the research was done but the methodology seemed sound. 
    The conclusion was that there was a steep drop-off in congregational retention of the points presented in the sermon after about a twenty-minute threshold.
    Does anybody know where the research was done? 
    I suspect proponents of both longer and shorter sermons challenged the methodology; dismissing the results out-of-hand.  Perhaps the generations reared on Sesame Street would have a shorter attention threshold.

  • Jeff Brislane

    Great, so after a ten minute sermon all the men have more time to hold hands and sing praise songs! Thanks a lot!!!

    I’d be interested to see if this approach slows down the learning and growth of christians. Jesus may have spoken short parables but he often spoke several of them at once.

    Then there’s the sermon on the mount, i’m sure that goes for more than 45 seconds and there are many points!

    And then there’s the Letter to the Hebrews which is universally accepted as being a Homily (ie: sermon), i’ve never tried to read it out loud but it is pretty long and the author has a lot more then one point!!!

    Then there is movies! If men can sit in the Movies for 1 1/2 hours and watch male violence blockbusters then i’m sure they can handle 45 minutes in a church sermon.

    I think if I had a choice i’d stay away from one point
    preaching simply because it smacks of the “I want it right now”
    MacDonalds culture that the world has become. People want to be
    entertained without having to think too hard and one point sermons play
    right into this mentality. Men can rise to a challenge but a one point, ten minute sermon is not a challenge!

  • KiaOra

    We have taken this on board at PK New Zealand. We used to think that we were doing well with sticking to just 30 minute messages. Now we break these up further by several means. A speaker may get a 10 minute intro then later does a 20 minute message followed by the men discussing it and praying for each other. The speaker may just get 20 minutes total. Or he may start with 20 minutes, the guys do group work then he does a wrap. This year we have had more testimonies than ever before of the deep spiritual impact of the events because the high level of focus and interaction has really allowed the Holy Spirit to move in men’s hearts. The least effective communication style is proven to be lecture style. If people take notes, it goes up slightly. If they take notes and interact, it goes up massively. To me the question is how can churches get people involved in focussed discussion and prayer before they leave the venue?

    On another point, personally I am so stimulated by computers, tasks and people every waking moment, that as soon as I sit still with no interaction except listening, I have to fight off sleep. I think we have to acknowledge that many men have been rewired by the digital world.
    John

  • KiaOra

    Your statement about movies is interesting. To compare that to church you would need to sit in the theatre with no picture on the screen, someone standing in front of it and just the sound track going. Oh, and the preacher in church would have needed a great story that was massaged for months by a team of screen writers. To me, that is a more fair comparison :-)

  • http://www.churchformen.com/ David Murrow

    Thank you John. Hope to get down your way again soon!